Review: Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight #1
Literature: overrated. Morality: expendable. Tonight is right for some over-the-top sex and violence! Bringing the flavor of midnight exploitation flicks to comics, Grindhouse delivers four two-issue gore operas, starting with “Bee Vixens from Mars,” pitting a one-eyed southern Latina deputy against lusty alien chicks bent on laying eggs in the entire male population!
It’s not midnight, but the Dark Horse is opening up the grindhouse doors for a brand new comic that gives you all the things you love about B-movies in comic book form. Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight #1 is written and lettered by Alex De Campi. Chris Peterson provides art with Nolan Woodard handling colors. Grindhouse movies are usually so bad they’re good, but does Bee Vixens From Mars pull that off in a different medium?
It’s a hot midsummer night. A local cop is home with his lovely girlfriend and her even lovelier friend. The two girls are in the kitchen eating honey and the cop is searching for a beer. When he runs to the store for more, he gets called in to a crime scene up on Cemetery Hill. A young boy has been mutilated and left inside his car. The circumstances are mysterious, but the swarm of bees around town are even more mysterious. The cop’s one-eyed Latina deputy remembers something her grandmother told her about bees at night being a bad sign of things to come. The cop goes home to some very strange things while his partner tries to take care of the beehive on Cemetery Hill. The bees and the honey are a sign of something much worse. The Bee Vixens From Mars are lurking and no one is safe!
De Campi writes a great, over-the-top story that follows the grindhouse formula to the letter. It’s a little sleazy, it’s cheesy in places, and it’s a lot of fun. The stories are two-issues long, so this one doesn’t provide a cliffhanger as much as it’s taking a month for the new reel to be loaded into the projector. There’s a cliffhanger, but it just (literally) flies at you in the last page. Peterson’s art is great. It’s very clean and crisp with its stylized pin-up girls and its bee swarming action. The big thrills don’t kick in until the second half, but the conversational bits and the action pieces are handled with equal weight. Woodard’s colors help sell the story and the art. The use of blues and the bright, overly exaggerated blood help sell the cinematic aspects.
Bottom Line: Grindhouse is a hit. It’s wild, it’s crazy, and it’s for adults. If you’re a fan of grindhouse cinema, Quentin Tarantino, and everything else you can lump into that group this one is for you. The only thing you can really knock is the ending point for part 1. It’s a strong start, but there’s no telling what’s coming next. That’s a good thing. 3.5/5