Pullbox Reviews Autolyse #1- Finding the hilariously surreal in everyday family life…

A covert military operation must infiltrate a small home in order to contain an abiogenesis event, but stopping a new cellular branch of life proves most difficult when they find themselves confronted with unknown anomalies already residing there. It’s Alien meets The Addam’s Family in this first issue, 24 page, full color monster horror/comedy.

Autolyse builds on the short story anthology put out earlier this year, Cannonball Presents: boom.

“Life emerges. Everywhere. All of the time. Sometimes in the silliest of places. Sometimes in the darkest. We must contain it. Or we’ll be swallowed by it.”

Just your average, everyday, suburban family. Dad is in the kitchen making bread while Mom tries to convince Rain, their daughter, to finally and in the name of all that’s holy, clean her room. It’s totally a setup. We’ve all read enough stories, watched enough television, seen enough movies where everything is so painfully average that there’s no way in hell that it could be on the level. But as strange as you think it might be, I can tell you that it’s going to be much stranger.

The secret surveillance team keeping tabs on their house would agree. As would the Gorgamath demon, formerly of the 16th layer of Hell and currently living beneath the clutter in Rain’s room. As for the bread dough that Dad is nurturing in the kitchen… well, not since the Tunguska Event of 1908 has homemade bread brought humanity so close to the brink.

No, seriously. There’s a demon living under the piles of laundry in Rain’s room.

I love the way creator/writer/artist Brandon De Pillis takes the emotional rollercoaster that is raising a tweenager and dials the hijinks up to 11. His imaginative observations start with daily life, & then dive into fantasy, all hilarious and occasionally disturbing. It’s all held together with a wry sense of humor, very often pointed at “Bran” himself, the semi-autobiographical character of the dad in Brandon’s work. While the story did hang a little long on the observation team staking the family out, and introducing a large number of characters without spending enough time on any of them, the humor driving the dialogue got me through. Pacing issues are forgivable when you look back on Brandon’s previous work, all slice-of-life snippets as opposed to a connected narrative.

Brandon’s wit is wrapped in a tidy bow, compliments of his chaotic artwork. Yes, he’s one of those comic creators who’s as talented a writer as he is an artist. His style is all about emphasizing the ridiculous, using exaggerated features and surrealistic angles. Lacking access to a third dimension in his work, Brandon leans into an amplified use of perspective distortion where objects close to the “camera” are seen as abnormally huge, out of proportion to items farther away. And while it’s not especially action-driven, Brandon does a great job of implying dynamic action when the need arises.

Autolyse is aimed at anyone who’s raised children, held any kind of in-depth conversation with a child, had to banish a demon from a child’s messy room, or tried to make a good sourdough from scratch. It’s all in good fun and gave me a few good laugh-out-loud moments (at one point my wife came to check on me). I feel like once the story gets its feet under it and settles in, the ride is going to be well worth the bumps.

Final Score: 11/13

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