“CANDIE WITH STRANGERS,” Part Two
Todd, imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit, falls into the crosshairs of the Aryan Nation. Meanwhile, his father stalks a celebrity Scientologist, his mom gets laid in a parking lot, and a headless Girl Scout is mauled by junkyard dogs.
Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth was the politically incorrect, risqué, hilarious, and twisted new series that came out of some dark corner and became one of the highlights of January. That definitely put a little bit of pressure on the second part of the four issue series. Ken Kristensen and M.K. Perker come back for seconds this month with Todd in jail. The story is written by Kristensen with art and lettering by Perker. Cemal Soyleyen provides colors. The first issue blew our socks off, but does the second one leave us with cold feet?
We pick up anywhere from a few hours to about a day after the last issue. Todd is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit…and nobody cares. His parents haven’t even realized he has been gone. The only person who even shows concern is one of those crazy murderer groupies who writes Todd a letter he doesn’t really understand in full context. His next cell neighbor is a creepy little wheelchair-bound man who teaches Todd a few rules of the big house. Todd begins to adjust to life in the clink and even tries to make a friend. Things are going to get rough for Todd, he just doesn’t know it yet. While Todd is trying to survive, we see four other story threads. His dad is off on a special trip that shows us a Scientology following starlet who is just as crazy as your Lindsey Lohan’s and Britney Spears’. His mother is off in a bar finding her long lost youth and the real ax murderer is watching Oprah and trying to get his pizza delivered on time. The final thread involves our misguided cop who is trying to nail Todd even when the evidence points a different direction, just so he can hear a TV talking head call him “America’s Police Chief.”
Kristensen writes another hilariously twisted story full of misunderstandings and rear male nudity. Todd continues to be the only pure character in a world of jaded people. The prison scenes are pretty much what you’d expect. They’re dark and full of adult content. There’s a lot going on in this issue, but Kristensen balances it well and keeps all the parts moving. Perker’s art is just as great as issue #1. You have very stylized and almost caricature depictions of characters and situations. Soyleyen may just be the star of the show though. Perker’s art and Soyleyen’s colors combine to make an amazing display you rarely see in comics. Last month I compared it to a children’s book, and that’s about the best description you could give.
Bottom Line: Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth is so wrong it circles back around and becomes so, so right. If you don’t have a slightly askew sense of humor you’ll find this more offensive than hilarious, and that’s your loss. Todd is one of the rare books that’s a good read AND a fun ride. I have no clue where it’s going, but I’m along for the ride 4.5/5
Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell
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