Evil Ernie is back and full of life. I will be honest and say that it was not until I met the Chaos universe that I began my transition into an avid comic reader. The new reboot was there, but my distrustful ways wouldn’t allow me to read the series. Recently my wife, smarter than myself as usual, bought me the six-issue series just released by Dynamite. She handed them over and told me to read or she would KILL ME! Fearing for my life, I read and was not disappointed. The story now is better put together, but the art isn’t as eye catching as that of the old days.
Let me run down the premise of the new series:
The new story explains that Ernie was supposed to be a weapon for Heaven in their fight against the powers of Hell. That’s why the devil murdered his parents and caused the torture of Ernie. As he spent his life being tortured he would pray, asking God to help him. He would plead day after day for God to intervene against the demons that tormented him, but there was no help to be found in God. In the plot’s main turning point, Ernie turns his back on God and falls right into the hands of the devil by making a deal that allows him to punish the wicked. He sends them to Hell, thus breaking the monopoly on souls held by Heaven. How did Heaven get a monopoly on souls? Simple, they take the young and allow the wicked to go on earth hoping that they repent before death.
This story is a gem. It is philosophical in all the right ways. It questions why the good die young, and the wicked live full lives. It jokes about the Christian idea that you can do what you like, and repent right before death so that the doors of heaven open up for you. There is so much more, but I will leave it for you to read.
Now this is a better premise than the original, in my opinion:
The original had Ernie born with powers that he uses to hurt his parents. They began to beat him, and try to get rid of his powers. He is given to a doctor that tortures him further. Throughout this, many of the community know that what is occurring to him is wrong and horrible, but say and do nothing. In the torturous treatment to cure his ability he dies and meets Lady Death. It is she that gives him the love that he had never before received. She gives him the task of killing everything on earth. Revitalized, he sets off to carry out his mission.
What I do miss from the old series was the love story. In the new version they hinted at it, but so far there’s nothing concrete; maybe in the next volume. What I don’t miss is Evil Ernie coexisting with Ernest Fairchild; they are both the same person.
The only thing that the new series was unable to do was surpass the art of old. The old art, as seen at top left, is more gritty and dark. It screams sweat and despair. The newer art, the image on the right, is too clean. It looks like an attempt to glamorize death and despair, but we Black Shippers know that death and despair are best served raw.
Dynamite has started the second volume. I haven’t had time to stop at my local shop to pick up a copy, but will soon. They have a wide variety of cover art. They’re trying, right? I highly recommend this title to any of those on the Ship looking for something good to read. I’ll pick mine up and we’ll compare notes. Until then! All hands on deck, and keep this ship afloat.