The Freakin’ Awesome Network devoted review, after review, after review, after review towards getting you in-the-know about Reed Gunther from Image Comics. Heck, we even gave away a copy of Volume 1 after an interview with the co-creators of this Americana drenched comicbook. Hopefully you’ve taken heed of our many online nudges to check out this comic because after this issue, REED GUNTHER is done…FOREVER.*
Ten issues ago, Reed Gunther hit comic stands after Eric Stephensen accepted Chris and Shane’s submission via snail mail to turn their black and white webcomic into a full-color print comic under the Image Comics banner. Though CHEW is one of their flagship comics, seeing a fun, goofy, good-natured comic in the Image (or any major publisher) catalogue is rare, especially when any comic that’s not gory, violent or nearly pornographic (not that there’s anything wrong with that) usually gets relegated to the children’s spinner rack, next to the manga. Reed Gunther may be an all-ages comic, but it’s not just for kids – it really is ALL-AGES in that you can be anywhere between 8 and 80 and still get a few guffaws out of this bad boy. This issue marks the conclusion to the “Fiends Forever” story with Reed’s best-bear-buddy Sterling being possessed by Mr. Todd’s spirit. Mr. Todd, known as one of the most dastardly, devilish men to roam the West, was hung by the neck for his crimes. While his body died, his soul was transplanted into Sterling’s body and lay dormant until the hour of his return drew near.
With Sterling now on a possessed rampage and Reed unable stop his good buddy, the cowboy proffers a Faustian bargain: his soul in exchange for Sterling’s freedom. As soon as Reed signs over his soul, Mr. Todd pulls a switchero, leaving Sterling’s body and entering Reed’s. Now the demonically possessed cowboy is forced to turn on his friends while Mr. Todd takes the reins of his body forcing Starla and Sterling have to figure out a way to stop Mr. Todd, without killing Reed Gunther!
Yes this issue of Reed Gunther contains some heavy subject matter including demonic possession, un-dullable machetes and imaginary mind wars, but writer Shane Houghton retains the good-natured comedy that Reed Gunther fans have come to know and love. Whether it’s the world’s tastiest pickes or an all-out tickle attack by Starla and Sterling, this issue keeps the laughs coming along with a heckuva K.O. punch from Starla (an arm-wrestling champion) and irrefutable evidence that Sterling the bear is the smartest one of the bunch! Even with all this calamitous comedy flying back and forth, Reed Gunther still revolves around the theme of being true to your friends. That theme is readily apparent in an amazingly impressive double-page spread by artist Chris Houghton, along with Josh Ulrich on colors. On one side is the evil Mr. Todd whose imaginary army consists of dozens of Mr. Todd replicas. Reed’s army consists of Sterling, Starla, Abe Lincoln and a herd of cows with Gatling-guns mounted on their backs. Though the battle rages on in Reed’s mind, he’s still got his buddies there to help him out!
Shane, Chris and Josh’s work on Reed Gunther always bring a smile to my face and showcases how a comic can dip its toe into the realm of all-ages comedy without sacrificing a witty sense of humor to pander to a younger demographic. Above all, Reed Gunther is a comic about friends, fun and fightin’. And pickles. Who doesn’t love pickles?
*By ‘forever,’ we mean that Reed Gunther will go on hiatus while the creators work on other gigs that probably pay much better. You can follow me on Twitter @dethfilm and do us all a favor and use those handy social media buttons to tweet, facebook, tumbl, reddit or whatever to all your peoples to spread the word about Freakin Awesome stuff like this!