Doll and Creature

    (AiT/Planet Lar, 2003)
™ and © AiT/Planet Lar

This is set in a world where religion is illegal, replaced by an omnipresent Goth culture, and where addicts of a street drug turn into “Hydes” (is my aging memory acting up or wasn’t there a Warren magazine series with the same theme?), with only a Frankensteinian cyborg vigilante with a pompadour to keep their population down.

It’s a strange, unsettling setup that’s serious enough, but it’s slightly undercut by the Heebink and Manley art. Their work is great (as always), but they just can’t seem to stop from rendering the undeniably dire ever so slightly “cute” (especially the zaftig heroine, Doll). Unfortunately, all the divergent elements—heroic, horror, romance, SF, satire, etc.—never quite gel. The romance between the title characters doesn’t blossom, and the sociological implications of a world without religion are pretty much ignored, the author preferring to take potshots at both Goths and the religious right. (In spite of the ban, the streets are full of Young Republicanesque thugs carrying “What Would Jesus Do?” briefcases.)

— S.A. Bennett
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