Pullbox Review: Identity Stunt, the Sequel, Act Two: Invasion USA!!!

Writer/Creator: Joe Khachadourian

Line Art: Rei Lay

Color Art: Patrik Mock

Letters: Michael Hoffert

Cover Artist: Kyler Clodfelter & Patrik Mock with Joe Khachadourian

Editor: Paul Baumeister

Creative Consultant: Davis Demers

Publisher: Markosia Enterprises

Available: Now! Via IndyPlanet print on demand:  https://indyplanet.com/identity-stunt-2-2

Price: $3.00

Available NOW for a nigh-negligible cup o’ coinage is Season 2, Episode 2 of the greatest slam-bang action joint since K.I.T.T. raced the streets of Las Vegas and Manimal prowled the city’s nightscape: Identity Stunt!

When last we left poor, beleaguered Sami Nasser, stunt man cum vigilante hero, life had taken a turn for the…well, really confusing. He’d been abducted by a gang of Beatdown lookalikes with serious daddy issues, and teen daughter Alyssa had come out as Negasonic Teenage Total Badass. So much for a cozy li’l Christmas with the fam.

Now, moments later (in book time, anyway), Sami finds himself imprisoned by some space-and-time-traveling Big Bad Mad Scientist known to his “babies” as Dr. Parcellus Father and who seems to be convinced that Sami holds the key to mankind’s very existence. Or rather, his utterly psychotic, world-dominating version of mankind, at any rate.

In the meantime, once-and-future ex-girlfriend Tracy and foul-mouthed but sincerely combat-enhanced preteen Alyssa have teamed up with Sami’s occasional partner, Studio City Detective (ok, former Studio City Detective) Jolene Armstrong, who has herself teamed up with a tech-enhanced F.L.A.G. (look it up, neophyte!)-like organization to battle through the invading Babies (though they refer to themselves as Brothers; it’s all a big family thing), save Studio City (again) and free their beloved once-and-future ex-boyfriend/dad/occasional partner. Got all that?

It’s the sequel’s Second Act, folks, so you all know what that means: The Big Bad’s Dramatic Monologue (with hifalutin’ slide show)! Turns out, Doctor Father is after a sentient, self-aware isotope called Rodimium-886, which has been present on and screwing with earth since the dawn of humanity. Think Venom, but with world-dominating aspirations and a tad more subtlety. Doc Father, as it turns out, has ben tracking this particular wonder-tope for generations…even employed it in the production of his mass of offspring…but seems to have lost it. And guess who was the last known earthling seen interacting (read: powering up) with it?

One Sami Nasser.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Joe Khachadourian is an insane mad scientist of a man trapped in the body (and moreover, budget) of a responsible husband and parent. Thankfully for us, rather than swallow down his maniacal plans for the world, or scribe them in a journal written in blood and bound in human skin, he commits them to comic books. Yay, us! Suffice to say that once again, Khach is operating at fever pace, his trademark balance of mania, humor and pop-culture homage fully in play. I have tell you: I’m totally jealous of his kids: this guy’s gotta be an absolute blast to play with at birthday parties.

Settling in for line work this issue on is the esteemed Rei Lay, who particularly excels in the high voltage action sequences (of which there are one or two…dozen). A comic with this much activity runs the risk of losing focus and being hard to follow: there’s just too much going on for the eye to track. Thankfully, not remotely an issue in Lay’s work. The action is fast and frenetic—but in Lay’s capable lines, flowing and easy to pace.

Of course, said linework is considerably aided by Patrik Mock’s colors—and in this issue, they burst from the page. Employing a bright, explosive palette that perfectly captures the 80’s action movie feel of the book, Mock’s paints guide the eye exactly where it’s supposed to go, while helping to define Lay’s action-saturated panels.

Michael Hoffert had a helluva job to do on this one: with Big Bad Soliloquys and snarky dialogue abounding and more sound effects than you can shoot a dash-mounted machine gun at, he had A LOT to fit into the panels of these 25 pages, and a hulluva job he did. Dialogue flows and never seems to create any dissonance with the art, if anything framing it all the better, and the sounds effects are creatively shaped, placed and colored. All-round top shelf work.

Oh, and Paul Baumeister edited. Good job, Paul.

This time offering nods to great films and TV programs throughout time (Airplane!, The Maltese Falcon, Indiana Jones, Mr. Belvedere and Pulp Fiction, to recount just a few), Khach and crew continue their madcap dive into our nation’s entertainment subconsciousness, while serving up a blast of a tale themselves. Seriously, folks—if you enjoyed all those high-octane, crazy-tech action yarns of the ‘80’s (and if you didn’t, I bet you stopped reading a long time ago, except for maybe you, Mom), hop on this train. You’ll be glad you did.

Identity Stunt Season 2, Episode 2 is available both digitally and via print on demand from IndyPlanet (here) for the criminally low price of $3,00 (that’s a whopping 99 cents cheaper than your typical and likely far inferior comic, folks!). And be sure to watch for episode 3 due out later this year, featuring a killer guest cover from the incomparable Joe Rubenstein! (Yes, THAT Joe Rubenstein!)

12/13

Review by Andy Patch
Contributing Editor

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