Writer: Simon Oliver
Artists: Mike Hawthorne
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Plot: This concluding chapter of "Brother 38" reveals the dark past of Professor Saloth, the creepy man working at Bug-Bee-Gone Exterminators.
Comments: Wow, this series is flying for me. Itís already at issue #12, and I keep re-reading all its issues over and over. I initially jumped on this because Tony Moore was providing the art. And although Charlie Adlard is doing an excellent job on The Walking Dead, Tony was the man. Even though Moore was great doing the black and white The Walking Dead, he is even better in this full colour book.
However, the artwork chores for issue #11 and this issue were handled by Mike Hawthorne. I'm sorry to say that I've never heard of him, but he's provided nice work in both these issues. "Brother 38" is more or less a fill-in story because it doesnít focus on the main characters, and in other titles fill-in stories can be pretty bad, but not in The Exterminators.
Hawthorne, of course, doesnít make one forget Tony Moore (who could?), but he is more than a "fill-in artist." His style is somewhat smoother than Moore's, but it still fits the book well, and I wouldnít mind seeing some more art from him.
His panels have a great detail for composition, making good use of background and foreground. Hawthorne immediately pulls the reader into the main theme of a panel, but also makes sure that the supporting characters or objects have a purpose. And Hawthorne poses the characters in a really natural way. Overall, the page flows nicely.
Simon Oliver's scripts must supply great details for an artist to draw, because every issue of The Exterminator have displayed great page compositions.
Speaking of Oliver, can you imagine pitching this title to Vertigo?
Simon Oliver: Itís a book about exterminators.
Editor Jonathan Vankin: Aaah, a nice story about assassins who call themselves The Exterminators. We can publish this after the completion of our The Losers series.
Oliver: No, itís about exterminators. Bugs! Rats!
Well, Oliver totally has me absorbed with The Exterminators. There is the sense that his characters all have a hidden agenda which makes this book even more cool than it already is. Of course, Vertigo is DC's "mature readers" line, but I think a younger audience would get a kick out of this. Itís got a lot of different elements: Horror, gore, but basically itís damn funny.
The colorist for this book, Brian Buccellato, understands his job very well. In the second panel of the first page the sun light at the left brightens the scene in a romantic way. You can feel the afternoon sun warming up for a great night. The indoor conversation between the two female scientists, on the other hand, is accurately bleak, like a real office building. And the bleakness has a purpose for setting up the next scene which is dark and horrible, just like a scene from Saw.
This torture scene, complete with the necessary grim mood, is really pulled off due to the detailed coloring. Swapping to some kids, which our professor is looking at, provides a great contrast between the past and the present. As a cat lover, I was disturbed by the scene where the creep kills a young cat. It made me sick to the stomach. How excellent that a comic book can play with my emotions, that it can make me really hate a character. Thatís some great "acting" Simone Oliver and Hawthorne are doing. Now letís kill Ďm!
Final Word: This series has been funny and scary at the same time, and the creative team is totally pulling this off big time.
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