Pullbox Reviews: Everglade Angels – Badassery & baseball bats…

  • Everglade Angels
  • Northworld Publishing
  • Written & Created by
  • Art by John Upchurch
  • Lettering by Digital Vanguard, Inc
  • Variant Cover by Leila Leiz

A wrong turn down a dead-end road.

A car that won’t start.

An unspeakable evil emerges from the darkness.

No phones. No weapons. No escape.

Think you’ve seen this all before?

THINK AGAIN.

When a girls’ softball team takes a shortcut through the Florida Everglades, they veer off the path towards a night they’ll never forget – drinking, dancing – one last hurrah before college starts and they go their separate ways.

When they stumble into a trap set by a murderous cult, the stage is set for a night of blood-soaked carnage – but the cult has never dealt with victims who are ready to fight back.

And while the girls might not have home field advantage, they have a game-changing surprise of their own.

What do we know about the Florida Everglades of the late 90’s? If any of the movies that released- many direct to home video- back then, it’s that behind every orange tree there was an alligator waiting to snatch up an unwary hiker on Spring Break & lurking in every swamp was a murderous cult of drug-crazed devil worshippers (the cannibals were all in Texas at the time, right up to the Great Migration of 2003). You know what else we know about the Florida Everglades? Almost none of that is even remotely true. But the concepts made for some horribly cheesy, gloriously awful gorefests for late night cable viewing.

Whether the easily offended want to admit it or not, there’s a great market out there for foul-mouthed borderline campy stories of horror, revenge, & women’s softball. It was with that understanding that the dream team of Scott Lobdell (Alpha Flight, Daredevil, The Darkness, Red Hood & the Outlaws, X-Men) & Blake Northcott (Executive Assistant Iris, Fathom, The North Valley Grimoire) put their heads together & came up with a project perfectly suited for a crowd funded comicbook niche (thank you, Kickstarter & IndieGoGo). The result is a fast-paced tale of violent action that swings for the left field fence & slides into the plate for an in-park homerun.

No stranger to comics in general, or horror comics in particular, Scott Lobdell has a list of credits that goes on for days. No Canadian wallflower in the world of writing herself, Blake Northcott has come up with some action-heavy titles of her own, filling an all too empty niche in the world (also, she’s a hoot on social media). With their powers combined, Lobdel & Northcott have come up with a throwback action tale of brutal mayhem & bloody retribution. Sure, it occasionally edges into the realm of camp, with whiplash inducing plot turns that push the boundaries of believability. All I can say is that anyone not aware of what to expect from Everglade Angels really wasn’t paying attention going into it. Throughout the crowd funding campaign, Blake reminded us that we were in for a fun throwback story that reflected an unhealthy regard for those direct to video splatter films we weren’t allowed to watch as kids.

Being a special kind of story, Everglade Angels needed a special kind of artist… someone who could capture the true nature of the baseball bat wielding heroines & the world in which they live. I’m gonna admit that when I first saw the cover for this title, I immediately thought that it looked a lot like some of the earlier art from Rat Queens (Image), and that this John Upchurch guy was pretty talented. And then I actually looked at his list of credits & realized that yes, he was in fact the guy behind that beautifully illustrated & completely left of center fantasy series. Fans of Upchurch’s work on that genre bending classic should know to expect some fantastic character designs, & some great environments for them to raise their special brand of hell in. Upchurch gives everyone their own distinctive look, which goes a long way toward reflecting their unique personalities… a big help in a one-shot title that doesn’t have a lot of time to establish who everyone is. Also, every scene is set with a look & a palette that sets it apart, again a major plus that saves a lot of time on establishing the different locations throughout the book.

There are going to be critics who will cry foul ball on this one, griping that there are plot holes & jumps aplenty. And sure, they may not be wrong but it’s all part of the fun of Everglade Angels. This creative team seemed more interested in channeling the spirit of Roger Corman & Wes Craven, and on that they hit the mark dead on. This is a fun read, but if I had to point out one problem I had, it’s that it was over way to fast. Currently only available to its crowd funding backers, I don’t know what plans there are for future distribution. But if anything I’ve said so far has piqued your interest, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for this one… maybe even shoot Blake Northcott something on Twitter. I’m sure there are worse things than hearing that more people want your book.

Final Score: 10+

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