DC Comics

Stanley and his Monster #2 (1993)

Stanley and his Monster #2 (March, 1993)

“Old Friends”
Writer & Penciller – Phil Foglio
Inker – Chuck Fiala
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Robbie Busch
Editor – Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $1.50

Another revisit here at the ol’ blog.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first chapter of this four-issue miniseries, I figured why not see how everything winds up.

Note: If you need to catch up, check out my review/discussion of Stanley and his Monster #1, right here.

We open with a brief vignette in a dive bar.  An oafish fellow with a propeller hat approaches a disheveled blonde man, who is wearing a trench coat and smoking cigarettes… hmm, sound familiar?  Our man, who introduces himself as Weevil Dendrite believes he has found the magician John Constantine (and honestly, so did I)!  The blonde fellow becomes aggressively annoyed, and plainly states he is not John Constantine… he is Ambrose Bierce!

This guy?
No… This guy.

Weev’ is trying to show off his latest divination, Jellomancy… which is pretty much exactly as it sounds.  Not-John throws the oaf out where he quickly finds himself squirrel food.

Back at the tree-fort, Nyx tells our Monster that he’s wanted back in Hell.  Apparently Lucifer himself stepped down… the new rulers of Hell from the first issue are unaware of Luci’s prior dealings.  A romantic relationship between Nyx and the Monster is alluded to, wherein the Monster left Nyx when he decided to become “nice”.  In a surprisingly gory scene, Nyx tears at the Monster with her claws leaving puddles of blood splattered all throughout the tree fort.  A lucky “astoundingly coincidental” bolt of lightning hits the fort, sending both parties flying.  The Monster regains his bearings and bolts.

I’ll be damned.
I just noticed that there’s no Comics Code Authority stamp on this one…

Inside the Stanley house, there’s a knock at the door.  Wouldn’tcha know, it’s Ambrose Bierce.  His car just happened to break down in front of their home.  Stanley’s mother invites Bierce to wait for the mechanic to arrive in their house, rather than out in the rain.  Stanley inadvertently rubs Bierce the wrong way by invoking the name of one John Constantine.  He gets back at the boy by tricking him with a reverse-squirting water gun (which is filled with Holy Water, natch).

Outside, the Monster is biding his time in the rain.  He must decide how to continue.  He wants to return to Stanley, but fears Nyx will follow him.  He decides he will return to Hell and hopefully straighten things out with the new management team.  He sneaks into Stanley’s house, and see’s Bierce.  Thinking Not-John to be Nyx in disguise, our Monster submits to him.

As this is going down, Nyx actually does disguise herself… as a Pilgrim?  Wouldn’tcha know it, her horse just happened to throw a shoe right outside the Stanley residence.  She too is invited inside.  Once there she sheds her disguise and forcefully grabs Stanley’s father.  Stanley comes at her with the trick squirt-gun, which she luckily swipes and turns on him.  The Holy Water squirts her right in the eyes, burning them (as she’s a demon, you see…).  The Monster hits a tremendous clap on poor Nyx’s melon, knocking her out cold.

Stanley, Bierce and the Monster sit and ponder their next move.  Bierce plainly states that he could destroy Nyx… the Monster refuses, as he wonders if one day they won’t be together again.  Bierce has no choice but to put a spell of binding on the Monster, as that is the only way Nyx will take him back without potentially harming the family.  In so doing, he transforms the Monster into a small toy resembling My Pet Monster.

Eh? Nahhh…
Thaaat’s better.

Before they can attend to Nyx, she has already regained consciousness.  She too mistakes our mad-magician for John Constantine.  This time, he just gives up and plays along.  Rather than risk dealing with Nyx or Hell in the future, he decides that “John” can take all the credit for this event.

Stanley steps in to inform Nyx that it’s only because of the Monster that Bierce didn’t straight-up destroy her when he had the opportunity.  Bierce?  Oh, yeah… Stanley outs Not-John as Bierce.

Nyx picks up the Monster Doll, and pops back to Hell… not before telling Bierce she’d look him up the next time she’s in town.  At the throne of Hell’s Angels… err, the Angels that now rule Hell, that is… Nyx hands over the itty-bitty Monster doll.  The Angels hit it with a “Dispel”, and it is revealed that her Monster was in another castle.

Back at casa Stanley, our Monster emerges from behind the couch.  Bierce presents him with a Talisman that will fool the masters of Hell, and keep them from finding him in the future.  Just as all of our problems appear to be solved… Stanley’s parents walk in on the proceedings.  Ruh-roh…

Another super-fun issue of Stanley and his Monster.  This one found a wonderful balance of action and humor, and kept me entertained the whole way through.  The addition of our John Constantine stand in was humorous.  I have to wonder if this was a gag on a Doom Patrol issue that was supposed to feature John Constantine until editorial nyx… er, nixed it causing Grant Morrison to create his own J.C. stand in, Willoughby Kipling.

Constantine-alike, Willoughby Kipling
From Doom Patrol (vol.2) #47 (Sept. 1991)

This story was silly and somewhat touching.  The Monster cares so much for Stanley and his family that he would risk his own safety and comfort in returning to Hell.  The cliffhanger is a great one, and I find myself looking forward to the next issue.  All told, an excellent outing.

Not much to add as it pertains to the crafting of this issue… I pretty much said everything that needed said in my review of the first issue.  I am still kind of on the fence in regard to Foglio’s art.  The character of Nyx, especially.  It used to be when I thought of Phil Foglio, a character not so different from Nyx would be what I’d picture.  I can appreciate all of the character designs otherwise.  Nyx… I dunno, I just don’t want to look at her.

As with the first issue, grab it on the cheap, I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

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