Writer/Artist: Tessa Stone
Publisher: Oni Press
After a mad scientist unleashes mutated monstrosities in his lab, an unlikely group of friends and enemies will fight the monsters and each other while trying to stay alive and find the truth behind what happened.
Tessa Stone’s Not Drunk Enough is a Lovecraftian nightmare of grotesque imagery following an eccentric cast of anti-heroes, villains, and random people just trying to survive that balances a story of madness, loss, and betrayal with a dark, often hyperactive sense of humor.
The story follows Logan, a repairman who is called in with his partner Abrahm to deal with something at Varkira Labs, only to be attacked by shadowy creatures and knocked unconscious and saved by Malea, a security guard and the only person in the group with any sense of responsibility, Bia, an I.T. tech who loves killing monsters, and Varker, the partially mutated CEO of the company who’s hiding the truth of what’s going on.
It continues with Logan and the rest as they try to escape the lab, occasionally cutting to the mad scientist behind everything, Simon, and Varker’s flashbacks leading up to the creation of Varkira Labs, and what caused his friend Simon to go mad.
Stone’s characters leap off the page, each of them full of energy, but in a unique way. They’re all very “in your face”, but it never gets annoying. Logan is perhaps a little weak as a protagonist, but his newfound friends are all entertaining, and the villains of the story have real depth to them. Dialogue is full of character, which is enhanced by the unique lettering.
The lettering is actually worthy of note by itself. Text for dialogue always feels unique and conveys emotion incredibly well. It’s also used to build atmosphere that far exceeds anything I’ve seen in any other comic. Most of the time, lettering is easily ignored and fades into the background, occasionally giving emphasis, and hopefully not getting in the way. The lettering in Not Drunk Enough is a core part of how the story is told. Sometimes it can be a little too much and become confusing – one of the monsters has so many sound effects before and after everything he says it distracts from what he’s actually saying – but overall it works brilliantly.
The art focuses on being expressive above all else. This is where a lot of the comedic tone comes from, even in the most intense situations. Exaggerated faces and movements from the characters keep the tone light, but Stone knows when to show restraint and let the horror take over. Thankfully, her art style works incredibly well for darker scenes as well as more comedic ones. The designs of the monsters are truly grotesque and horrifying, from Simon’s eyes growing in the cracks of walls (or flesh) to spy on our heroes, to a scientist’s head trapped within a chunk of metal, blood oozing out of the cracks, to spindly skittering shadow creatures.
Not Drunk Enough might be a bit too much for some people. It’s high energy and more than a little crazy, with lots of gore and grotesque imagery. It has character and style in spades, and it you think you can handle it, I’d highly recommend checking it out, if for no other reason than there’s nothling like else it out there.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.