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HALLOWEEN MAN: BEYOND OCTOBER #25 review – Trick and Treat

Cover art: Nicola Scott and Annette Kwok
Introduction: Matt Morrison

“Beyond October”
Story by Drew Edwards
Art by John Sowder, Jason Wilson, Paulo Hernandez, Evan Quiring, Max Young, John Gholson, Andrea Montano, Joey Muerto, and Sergio Calvet
Colors by Kitty Pierce, Dan Conner, John Sowder, Jason Wilson, Joey Muerto,
John Gholson and April Guadiana
Letters by April Guadiana and Joey Muerto
Character Designs by Paulo Hernandez, Andrea Montano and Max Young

“Fear & Loathing in Solar City”
Original Story by Drew Edwards
Original Script by Jesse Farrell and Drew Edwards
2020 Edit by Russell Hillman and Drew Edwards
Art by Kaan Erdrogan
Colors by Kat Horton
Letters by Matt Live

Thanks to Sugar Skull Media for the review copy!

This supersized issue celebrates 20 years of the Halloween Man. I have to admit, despite the apparent longevity of the character, I had not heard of him until I read it. If you are in the same boat as me, this isn’t necessarily a problem, because the book does an admirable job explaining who he is. First, we are provided a paragraph describing Solomon Hitch, the Halloween Man. The ensuing introduction provides some more context to the character. Finally, there is a helpful line-up of the characters appearing the book. And what an interesting menagerie of characters it is. From the Halloween Man, a guy who was killed on Halloween, resurrected by magic, and now fights monsters, to a Man-Goat, to a part man-part machine-part ape named Gorillastein, this book is chock full of zany characters. The introduction pages were essential to gaining a baseline understanding needed to enjoy the ensuring stories.

The issue has two stories. The first is the more action packed story and really plays to the strengths of the supporting cast. Halloween Man is kind of a cross between Jonah Hex (complete with the scarred half face) and John Constantine. He and his crew face two challenges at once. There’s plenty of monster stomping action and did I mention the dinosaur? Any comic smart enough to include a dinosaur gets extra credit from me. I’m admittedly biased, but the dinosaur had a role in my favorite parts of the issue, both action and dialogue. While this story is clearly a monster/superhero story, at its core it also is a love story, which gives it some heart. The snappy dialogue features plenty of humor and fun references and the plot in this story is enjoyable. Each character gets his or her time to shine, which is nice in an ensemble story.  As is the case with dinosaurs, the inclusion of a character name Gorillastein is worth more bonus points.

The second story is a little slower. Lacking the other characters and action of the first story, it is more of a reflection on what drives the Halloween Man. It’s also told mostly through narration by another character. This story will probably appeal to people more familiar with the character, but I had a harder time getting into it.

One interesting thing about this book is the art. While you can clearly identify Halloween Man, sometimes the art style and his character design seems to shift from page to page. The scarring on one side of his face seems to become more or less pronounced and his hair changes a bit. It doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story, but it was a bit distracting at times. One character that is consistently drawn … the dinosaur, who looks both awesome and I think perhaps scientifically accurate given recent theories about feathered dinosaurs. The action sequences are well done, and you can clearly see what is going on.

If you’ve never heard of Halloween Man, but are interested in some zany characters fighting some monsters, this issue of Halloween Man is a good place to give the character a look. It’s clear that there is a history that has been built up over the 20 years, but the introduction pages helped catch me up. There is some violence, blood, and cursing, so I’d recommend some parental discretion.

HALLOWEEN MAN: BEYOND OCTOBER #25 will be available on October 14th.

Are you going to pick up the issue? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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