The Perhapanauts #5
After a long wait since the fourth issue hit, The Perhapanauts #5 by Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau was released from Image this week, concluding "Triangle," the title's first arc and setting up a new status quo for the team.
In a nicely-rendered backup story by Todd Dezago and Jason Copland, various members of the BEDLAM staff attempt to connect with The Aswang, a villain who viciously attacked Arisa way back in the first Perhapanauts miniseries from Dark Horse. After a staff psychiatrist, and then Joann, both fail to get through to her from behind bulletproof glass, Big enters the room, offers her a warm and comforting conversation and ultimately she's won over to the good guys. Asked whether Arisa would have some serious concerns about the inclusion of her attacker on the team, co-creator and series writer Todd Dezago simply said, "I would think so."
Todd was just as matter-of-fact about the juiceboxes full of blood that appear in Sampaguita's room (that's the Aswang's name, by the way). They're the same ones used to sustain Choopie, and Todd explains, "The more vampires we bring into BEDLAM, the more goats we gotta bleed. That's just the way it is."
What's that you're saying?
Oh. So, after five issues and ten months, you really wanted to know how the "Triangle" story ended? And you think it's silly to begin my analysis by looking at a backup story that has nothing to do with it?
Since it's been a while since the last issue was released, Comic Related asked Todd to fill in the blanks for readers who may be new, senile or those of us who just read too many comic books and are no longer able to distinguish one plot thread from another. He answered the call:
"Umm...okay--BEDLAM has been evacuated so that the security system can be upgraded--but not before the escaped Chimaera, bent on revenge and murder, corners Arisa, MG, Hammerskold and Choopie. Choopie gets away while the others are trapped in gremlin-made containment spheres. outside the mothmen have chosen this moment to attack BEDLAM, to make Karl and the rest of the Perhapanauts pay for their insolence. Choopie is left in an abandoned BEDLAM to fend for himself against the Chimaera. Also, big and merrow are in great britain when big realizes that the mothmen must answer to a higher power themselves....How's that?"
Sounds good to us-so on with the review and analysis part. Boo yah!
The whole issue reads like the final ten minutes of a very intricate action film-like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or something, where there are multiple plots converging in an unexpected way, and until the last moment you might not even see what's right in front of your face. One minute it's bedlam...err, the state of chaos, not the place where the story is taking place, although I suppose it's that too...and the next, everything comes crashing down at once and relative calm is restored. It's high-energy, adventure comics fun. Todd says, "This was really meant to be a smack down, balls-out action issue and, by definition, those kindsa stories usually run thin on the politics and diplomacy. Didja really wanna see several pages of big approaching the ancient mothmen and tattling on the kids?"
On that note, though, Todd says that many readers may have had an inkling as to what was coming for the mothmen. "You see Big and Merrow [throughout the story] chatting about stuff and Big having a revelation about authority and responsibility. I left it to the reader to make their own connection with those elements. we've got a really clever readership." I guess that's one upside to having a small, loyal readership and not having to appeal to the lowest common denominator like so many mainstream books do!
As for the actual fight-it's Choopie alternately running from and fighting with the Chimaera, while Hammerskold, MG and Arisa try to figure out how to best use their combined strategy and powers to get themselves out of the large, floating energy bubbles that the gremlins designed and the Chimaera trapped them in. There are a number of hints as to the nature of MG's powers and origins-the first time that a sizable amount of information has really been put into play about that stuff-and so here's hoping that we'll get some real answers on that eventually...but Todd has a little cold water to throw on that idea: "I won't say soon as MG--as well as Arisa and Hammerskold--are lost out there in some other dimensions somewhere. We will see more of all of them...sometime...." MG had hypothesized that using the transporter at BEDLAM to send themselves to a different dimension would "negate" the energy signature of the bubbles and free them upon arrival...but Todd plays it coy when asked what the odds are that the next time we see our heroes, they'll be floating around Bizarro World or something in little bubbles.
"Stuck in other dimensions, I'll give you 6 to 1 odds," he jokes. "Floating in bubbles, it's either 50/50 or 25 or 6 to 4."
When the story finally ends, both plots resolve themselves within a few pages, as Choopie overcomes the Chimaera (yes, really) and Big and Merrow find a chink in the mothmen's armor. The latter results in a new charge, and a new status quo, for everyone's favorite monster squad.
"This story arc--as well as the next two--had been planned out way in advance, the resolutions mapped out from the beginning," Todd explains. "This, really, is where it all begins--the team can now, finally, be called The Perhapanauts because they will now be traveling in the Perhaps. Their new responsibilities will be both inspiring and taxing for the 'Haps. Custody of the Par-Ha will play into their adventures and their growth, as a team and as individuals."
One dangling question, following the death of a fan-favorite ancillary character and the appropriation of any number of the gremlins' technologies for evil by the Chimaera, is whether BEDLAM-or even Choopie-will still want the gremlins around. Todd says, though, that they're here at least for the time being. "Choopie is still their king and they are still eager for him to 'guide' them to a life of meaning and excitement," says Todd. "But after all this, will Choopie still WANT to wear the crown...?"
I kinda hope so. The "Nosmo King" joke still makes me giggle.
It's a long time coming, too, but Todd says that hopefully Image's next solicitations will have news on the "Triangle" collected edition. "Hopefully it'll be out in April. Craig and I are putting the finishing touches on it now--cover galleries, deleted scenes, ALL of the extras including pin-ups, the lost pages portfolio, the one-sheets, and the Monster Pile-Up story, etc. it's gonna be super-jam-packed with cover to cover Perhapanauts goodness! everything Perhapanauts that you could ask for! It's gonna be huge!"
Russell Burlingame / Comic Related Columnist
Russell Burlingame is a journalist and columnist living and working in New York City. In high school, Russell interviewed Elliot S. Maggin for a review of the Kingdom Come novelization, and since then has worked consistently in and around the comics industry. He interned for Wizard magazine, and has freelanced for Wizard and Newsarama, in addition to a number of non-comics publications, Russell is currently working on a graphic novel based on Cap'n Internet, the comic strip that ran in his college newspaper; and a graphic biography of folk singer Phil Ochs with artist Marion Vitus.
blog comments powered by Disqus