"The Gravediggers Union #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Wes Craig
Illustrated by Toby Cypress
Colored by Niko Guardia
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 2nd, 2018
In my lifetime of reading comics, there are few phrases that invoke such an immediate sense of curiosity as “space-monkey.” I won't pretend to fully understand how we got to this point in The Gravediggers Union, as the series has taken some moderately confusing turns, but I am definitely along for the ride. Right now, the Gravediggers, a group that fights back the supernatural forces that threaten humanity, is in a race against time to save the space-monkey before the cult known as the Black Temple steals it to bring ancient dark gods to our world. That's one awesome way to start a new story arc.
Adding to the tension of this is the personal relationship between some of the characters. One of the Gravediggers, Cole, has more at stake than the others. His estranged daughter Morgan is at the center of the Black Temple and he wants to save her from all this insanity. This leads to some emotional moments on the battlefield as Cole tries to fight off the forces of evil while also trying to get through to Morgan.
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The fight itself is unusual and terrifying. On one side you have an army of Gravediggers, armed with shovels and picks. On the other is a group of undead, flying monsters, and a horrifying Minotaur made of discarded flesh and eyeballs. Artist Toby Cypress has a unique style that is perfectly suited to this trippy story. His monsters are bizarre and unsettling, especially the Minotaur. Everything about this thing is unnatural. This does not belong in our world and yet here it is, wreaking havoc and killing people left and right.
Colorist Niko Guardia gives The Gravediggers Union a classic look. This could be a decades-old comic that you just discovered in a hidden alcove somewhere. There are swatches of color that float across the page at times like an eerie fog. If this was an old movie, it might be film grain or scratches. It's a great effect that adds to the overall reading experience.
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Cypress' art direction is superb with some really awesome panel layouts. The battle feels larger-than-life with characters flying every which way. No two pages are laid out in the same way and it makes for an exciting read. You will definitely not see anything else like this on comic stands today.
The Gravediggers Union takes something as strange as a space-monkey and makes it one of the coolest maguffins since the Holy Grail in The Last Crusade. This comic could have been about a group of old dudes fighting off zombies in a cemetery every night. There is an element of that in here, but it has evolved to be so much more than that. Writer Wes Craig has crafted this surreal supernatural adventure filled with action, intrigue, and a whole lot of heart.