ADVANCE REVIEW: Holy Terror #3A comic review article by: Ray Tate
The Dark Aztec God Tezcatlipoca seeks to walk the earth once more. The cursed mask that Max Brody now wears is his doorway. Will Max succumb to the corruption of the evil one, or will he be strong enough to wrestle the devil to the ground?
That's what a Dark God is Supposed to Look Like
With Holy Terror, Caskey's story turned the traditions of La Lucha Libre on its head. The masked wrestler wasn't the stalwart hero but the victim of a vile mask. With this final issue, Caskey introduces numerous twists and turns. I get the impression that the child inside him imagined what made a man or woman wrestler wear a mask to fight the Aztec Mummy, the Frankenstein Monster and Dracula? Might not that man be part monster?
The Corruption of the Man Behind the Mask
As a mature creator, Caskey tweaked his 12-year-old questions into this delightful tribute to the genre of action-horror particular to Mexico. He considers the answer to be in fact a perversion of the Lone Ranger legend, in which Dan Reid fashions a mask from his dead brother's vest. The origin reveals the power in the mask.
Tezcatlipoca is the god of death. So, naturally zombies play a part in the final ritual. Fortunately for Max and the world, the enigmatic Eden is more than capable of stemming the tide of undead flesh. Caskey never reveals Eden's true nature. We're left guessing. Is she alien? Is she Seraphim? Either could apply, and this feeds into the anything goes attitude of the Santo films.
Max's Unearthly Ally
The zombie attacks are mere sauce for the goose. The true battle occurs within the ring where the death of one man become vital to the Death God's plans. However, he hasn't counted on one thing. One sacrifice that will decide the fate of the world, and in that sacrifice Caskey once again wrings the plot 180 degrees while supporting the intrinsic rationality of the story.
Artist Phil Hester might not have been the instinctive choice for detailing a story featuring big meaty men, but after reading Holy Terror, I cannot think of anybody else who could have done it. His art, known for lither characters, turns out to be perfect, and he really stretches his muscles on this project. Hester's work was somewhat abstract -- The Wretch for instance, but his illustration in Holy Terror is concrete. He not just enables the action but also the emotions at play.
A Superb Depiction of Rage
Inker Jim Woodyard is in perfect synch with Hester. He gives weight to Hester's shadows and lights.
The wonderfully named Fritz Mabuse creates a kaleidoscope of demonic color to enhance the weirdness bursting into our world.
Rainbow of Terror
The third issue of Holy Terror will soon be available for print-on-demand at www.comicfix.com. The first two issues along with photonovels of Sadistik and other goodies inspired from International Mondo Movies are there now.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.