While we’ve already seen Merrick wrestle his way free from the shackles of his hefty origin it’s now a chance to see what’s next for the Elephantman in the wake of those revelations. We open with Treves still embroiled in the same underground plots that he’s always been a part of in the shadows but now we get more details. The Masonic minds behind it have their sights set on getting the power behind a new mystical object and while they are adding casualties to the local insane asylum the realisation hits that Merrick himself may be the only chance they have of getting their hands on what they seek.
While this is all going on Merrick does his best to steer clear of prying eyes by hiding away in his local bar/safe house…….but even that still leaves Merrick aiming to save the day with his own brand of justice. The world of Merrick & Treves are linked once again but it’s all another case of Merrick being kept in the dark about the details of what’s really happening. Cue a new foe for Merrick to face head-on and yet more problems that they don’t even see coming and that all leads to a cliffhanger ended that just made the next issue all the more significant.
The world of Merrick has always drawn parallels with the likes of Hellboy/BPRD as much with the style of art as the subject matter but this fifth issue helps it really start to take strides into its own world with a definite purpose. Tom’s script is strong as it always has been and although early in this issue it all feels a little word heavy it eases into a steady flow and some cracking set pieces. That’s all backed up with Luke’s Mignola-esque style and it crackles with a real pulp vibe that I just can’t get enough of…….it’s easy to just sit and soak in those pages. Letterer Micah Myers works his own magic in this book too, especially in that first section that has a lot of dialogue/narration to tackle and this keeps the book form becoming a chore to read and instead slip back into what we’ve all ready seen in the previous issues.
The same strong lead character is the beating heart of a title that’s got a mainstream vibe but indie sensibilities and it all comes from a creative team that know how to write a great story. There may well have been some delays in this seeing print but when it’s this good, the wait is so worth it. More Merrick please!