Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review: Axe Cop

If you haven't heard of Axe Cop yet, you are missing out because it is probably the most amazing thing ever. The biggest reason Axe Cop is so amazing is due to the fact that it is a comic written by a five year-old.

Yes, you read that right and no, that isn't a typo.

Malachai Nicolle is the five year old (he's probably six by now) creative genius behind Axe Cop.  His older brother, Ethan Nicolle is faced with the task of coaxing and encouraging the story out of young Malachai, and drawing the wild imaginings of a five year old boy.  What you get is a brilliant work of creative genius.

The story goes that one day at the scene of a fire, the Cop found the perfect fireman axe and became Axe Cop.  Needing a partner, Axe Cop held tryouts and hired Flute Cop to help him fight a gang of dinosaurs.  The duo prevailed, but Flute Cop got dinosaur blood on him, and transformed into Dinosaur Soldier, and with that awesome introduction, the adventures of Axe Cop kicks off.  Along the way you'll meet an incredible cast of characters, including a uni-baby, a guy with boomerang socks for arms, a T-Rex with Gatling-gun arms, and even some moon ninjas.  You'll also travel to far off planets, visit weapon stores, battle aliens, ghost, robots and more.  Axe Cop is the perfect stream of consciousness creative story and my early favorite for best comic of the year.

Axe Cop got its start about a year ago as an online comic which featured mini episodes and the hilarious and informative "Ask Axe Cop" column.  This first volume collects most of the material at the Axe Cop web site, so yeah you could  easily read all the material that is collected in this trade there, but if you are like me, and prefer to hold an actual physical book in your hand over reading something from a back-lit screen, then this graphic novel is the way to go.

Every character in Axe Cop is hilarious, but rightfully so, Axe Cop was my favorite.  Even though Axe Cop is supposed to be this amazing heroic dude, he is also a bit of a weirdo and a creep.  Which of course, only made me love him more.  For one, aside from chopping off heads with his trusty axe, his next most preferred way to destroy his enemies is by poisoning them.  Not exactly what you'd expect from a 'hero".  Not only that but the guy is sorta strange.  Back in his pre-Axe Cop days he lived alone with no friends, no TV, and no computer, all he did was sleep all night and eat all day.  Eating disorders aside, Axe Cop can be a bit of a creeper too, hiding in bushes and spying on couples, then beheading the woman if he is pretty sure she's evil.  But Axe Cop also has a heart of gold.  He even shed a tear or two when he found out he had once accidentally killed a good guy.  That's only the tip of the iceberg too.  Aside from Axe Cop himself, there are scores of incredible characters to love in these stories.

As I said earlier, Axe Cop is pretty much a feat of unparalleled creativity.  Matching that creativity is some very fine art.  Ethan Nicolle is tasked with the difficult job of actually trying to draw the imaginings of his little brother.  That can't be too easy, but he nails it.  Each and every panel is wonderfully illustrated, and fantastically captures and portrays the wildness of the story.  As often as I laughed at the narration or something one of the characters said, I was also laughing at the art which wonderfully depicts the world of Axe Cop.

Axe Cop is pretty much a lock to be the funniest thing I'll read all year.  I read a good chunk of this graphic novel on my bus commute to and from school, and I must have spooked quite a few of the introverted Seattle Metro travelers with my steady barrage of snorts, chuckles and giggles.  Not only is Axe Cop a fun and hilarious read, it is also an amazing way of collecting and paying tribute to the fantastical imaginings of a five year-old boy.  That unbridled stream of wild imaginings doesn't last forever, and this is such a cool and unique way for the entire Nicolle family to hang on to that little slice of Malachai's life.  So in that sense, I guess Axe Cop can also be sentimental and heart warming.  Any way you look at it Axe Cop is all awesome.  I honestly can't conceive of anyone who wouldn't find something to enjoy in this graphic novel.  If such a person exists, I don't wanna meet them.  If you haven't done so already, do yourself an awesome favor and read this right away.  After you do, give yourself a laser high-five for doing the right thing.

Grade: A+

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