Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Supernatural Law week, day 2: The Monsters Meet on Court Street

Although Batton Lash has never stopped producing new Supernatural Law comics, it's taken some time for his trade paperback collections to catch up to his output. The most recent collection, the Monsters Meet on Court Street is only the sixth such trade and is mostly concerned with material from 2003-04.
After a brief new story (more about which tomorrow), the collection gets underway with a run of stories connected (at times) with a subplot about Chase Hawkins, a lawyer who's been in a relationship with Alanna Wolff since the first volume, but it's been a problematic affair as Chase isn't particularly faithful. Chase receives more attention in this volume than in any previous book and while as a reader I extend some hope for Chase to turn his act around, it's only really because I've been made to care about Alanna; Chase has terrible self-control, from his inability to give up smoking to his philandering. By the end of the book, Alanna seems to have moved on from Chase and he's left unredeemed. But perhaps his story will continue in the future?
The Chase Hawkins tale comes to a head during "the Mamamomo Matter," easily my favourite chapter of the book. In this tale, Chase is representing a client who's been passing off his various crimes on his childhood imaginary friend, Mr. Mamamomo (who I think is meant to resemble Mr. O'Malley of the Barnaby comic strip?). Naturally, Wolff & Byrd become Mr. Mamamomo's lawyers, but as his one-time friend continues to spurn him, Mr. Mamamomo's physical presence diminishes, providing a "ticking clock" for Wolff & Byrd to race against. Unfortunately, Mr. Mamamomo fades whenever people ignore him and at the moment, Alanna is preoccupied by her troubles with Chase, Jeff is distracted by reporter Roberta Bronski and normally-reliable secretary Mavis is out-of-sorts after having heard her ex-boyfriend Toby is getting married. The story has plenty of great jokes about imaginary friends, a lot of character development for the series cast and even ends on a heartfelt moment.
Also noteworthy is "Appeal of the 800-lb. Gorilla," a sequel to a story from the previous volume which involved Nicky Gorillo, a man transformed into a gorilla. In what seems to be a joke based on DC Comics' one-time belief in selling comic books by placing gorillas on their covers, Gorillo returns in this story to become rich and famous due to the public's inherant fascination with talking gorillas. So Julius Schwartz really was on to something!
The book concludes with the great "13 Court Street," in which cast members see their possible futures reflected within a magic mirror. It proves to be a great means for the characters to confront their personal issues and undergo a bit of growth.

More about the Monsters Meet on Court Street tomorrow...

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