|HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. No. 3, February 2016|
Argued to be “by far the best book being published right now” by at least one of its 18,002 strong audience in December 2015, Issue Three of “Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D." certainly contains the sort of storyline that illustrates just how much of a “blast” Frank J. Barbiere was having whilst “telling the story of our motley band of monsters.” Indeed right from the ‘get-go’, as an exasperated “Dum Dum” Duggan hurls a zombified Jasper Sitwell out a low-flying aeroplane in an effort to try and reawaken the former agent’s consciousness, it’s clear that “job number one” for the New Jersey-born writer was to pen a narrative which would “make our readers smile.”; “Sigh. C’mon soldier. You’ve gotta be in that bag of bones somewhere… Just don’t forget to pull your ‘chute!”
Admittedly, not everything within this twenty-page periodical appears to have been scripted by the Rutgers University graduate purely to induce a (cheap) laugh. Nadeen Hassan’s angry angst at suddenly manifesting both “ghost powers” and “super-strength”, coupled with her subsequent incarceration by the “special division for Supernatural Threat Analysis for Known Extranormalities” on account of being “some kind of a monster”, proves to be serious emotional stuff. Whilst Navid’s heartless manipulation of his sister as a ‘weapon’ to be used in the service of the Sphinx is as clinically callous and it is effective in momentarily distracting Doctor Kraye, Teen Abomination, Orrgo and Vampire By Night from the deadly plight of their fellow Howling Commandos at the Museum of Egyptian Culture in San Francisco.
Overall however, the former English teacher has definitely produced a quite delightfully humorous “monster team book” and it is hard to imagine that many “Howlers” didn’t at least grin as Duggan’s “creepy pet zombie” Sitwell, much to Warwolf’s evident exasperation, crash-lands on top of a tree from free fall, or smirk when the “overgrown pile of dinosaur skin" called Orrgo ineffectively flails his gigantic arms at some Egyptian apparitions breaching the S.T.A.K.E. bunker whilst informing them that “Orrgo does not believe in ghosts! They defy all logic!”
Somewhat disappointing though, considering the promise shown by this comic book’s enticing cover illustration of a battered, clearly robotic “Dum Dum” leading his “rag-tag group of monsters” in the defence of a Museum of Antiquities, is Brent Schoonover’s drawing. The Minnesota-based artist’s breakdowns for this amalgamation of “horror, comedy and adventure” aren’t terribly consistent at all, with his pencilling for the Hassan twins proving especially erratic and crudely drawn.
|Writer: Frank J. Barbiere, Art: Brent Schoonover, and Color Art: Nick Filardi|