Lizard Men #1 (Comichaus)

With their quarterly anthology, upcoming comic app and hundreds of titles within their ever expanding library, Comichaus are cementing their place as a publisher on the rise. In this new mini-series, writer Steve Horry, artist Catia Fantini and team hope to add to this success with Lizard Men, which sees a rockstar become leader of the British People and discovering a dark enemy hiding in the shadows. But is this new comic another sure-fire hit or will it receive a cold(blooded) reception?

Publisher: Comichaus
Writer: Steve Horry(Writer), Mira Manga (Editor)
Artist: Catia Fantini (Artist), Chiara Bonacini (Colourist), Ken Reynolds (Letterer), Steve Horry (Cover Design)
Price: £4 via Kickstarter

Lizard Men follows the story of Dylan Zamani, a former rockstar of the most traditional sort who ends up running for, and winning, the role as Britain’s Prime Minister. However, while the majority of the people support this unlikely choice as the Country’s leader, a sinister group find Dylan a ‘vulgar’ and ‘ghastly’ individual. Therefore, no sooner has Dylan set foot inside number 10 and gotten the tour of his new home, he is confronted by these sinisterly suited men who inform him of the truth; that they are with a mystical group who rule mankind from the shadows and he is the latest person who must get in line and serve them. Will this wild rockstar toe the evil cult’s line or will he rebel and fight back?

Writer Steve Horry’s unusual story, has a very Vertigo vibe to it from the start. While written as a straight sci-fi/action/horror, it comes across as more of a parody or satire thanks to its humorous undertones. This is best personified in lead character Dylan who seems to have been imbued with the spirit of Russell Brand with his humour and general demeanour  – something which is very apt as the character really comes across as a guy you’d love to hate. (Assuming you aren’t a fan of Brand of course – Ed!)

With the focus firmly on Dylan for this debut issue, all other characters feel one-dimensional and little information is given away in regards to the overall story arc. That said, a few key moments, such as the introduction of the representative of the ordinary as well as the cliffhanger, do offer hope that this story will become intriguing as it progresses.

The art is really a plus for this title, with a cover which looks very much inspired by Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked and the Divine work. Catia Fantini’s art style has a very retro look to it which has a reminiscence to Vertigo’s Greatest Hits series (a superhero book which, coincidentally, is told in an almost ‘rock band biography’ way). The issue also remains in keeping with the rock and roll vibe with Chiara Bonacini providing some truly psychedelic colours in various panels especially when relating to the book’s villains. Of course, Bonacini’s pallette isn’t just leaning towards the loud colours as she provides a full range to compliment Fantini’s smooth pencils with much of the book having a very 70’s feel and one scene, the introduction of the Representative, having a dull Paul Grist’s Mud Man kind of look.

The first issue of Lizard Men is very much still finding it’s feet, and so a bit like it’s protagonist suffers from a case of style over substance. But with some really great art and a strong central concept (which certainly resonates in the current political climate), this comic does offer some glimmers of hope for something greater. And if it’s future instalments can build on the hints this issue closes with, then this could end up being a rather fun series.