New Talent Showcase #4 (Feral Man)
“Who is the Feral Man?”
Writer – Steve Ringgenberg
Pencils – June Brigman
Inks – Rick Magyar
Letters – Duncan Andrews
Colors – Helen Vesik
Edits – Karen Berger
Who wantsta meet a Feral Man? Anybody? Anybody?
… yeah, me neither. Let’s do it anyway though!
We open in the far-flung year of 1997… boy oh boy, the future was such a long time ago! Here we meet a former Agency Research Analyst who has volunteered to undergo a process that can “expand his consciousness”. Looks like he’s starting to regret his decision, but by now, it’s too late to go back. He’s already strapped to the table and being injected with all sortsa stuff. Once the formula begins to flow, our man is haunted by some strange visions… his cat, his girlfriend, and some pervert with a mustache and a headband. He wakes up… transformed!
He’s transformed all right, he’s now… the Feral Man! His hair has grown out a bit, and he now sorta resembles Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. The doctors look on, pleased as punch that they’ve “unlocked his primal essence”, whatever that means. We spend the next few months watching our hero go through training sessions and what-not.
One night, our man tries to read… and finds it to be too much of a challenge for his “frenzied” mind. We shift to another day of training, and a contentious chat between our Feral Friend and a “coach” of sorts named Muldoon. Things go sideways, and our hero lunges at the fella in something not unlike a Berzerker Rage. Thankfully, he’s able to check himself before he wrecked… uh, the other guy.
Our hero next decides it’s time to check out of the facility… and so, he makes a break for it. He narrowly manages to escape, and a few hours later he’s made his way back home. Once inside, he’s frightened by his cat… and so, he slams it against the wall… killing it. We wrap up with the Feral Man realizing just how much the company has messed with him… and decides to, I’m going to assume, whistle-blow… telling his tale to The Washington Post!
Well… they can’t all be winners, can they?
This… ehh… was kind of a stinker. Not only did our new hero look like he stunk, but the story pretty much did too. Not much to it, unfortunately… so, it’s hard to really analyze it.
I can tell ya some superficial bits I didn’t like… such as the Nietzsche quote that opened it. I mean, if you’re a writer, and your first instinct is to begin your story with a Nietzsche quote… maybe just close the laptop for the day. It’s never quite as clever as you think it’s going to be, and ultimately just makes it look like you’re trying too hard.
I thought his dream of pi (not to be confused with dreams of pie, which I have regularly… Salish cherry especially), was another bit of preciousness. Sort of a shorthand for “hey, ain’t this smart writing?” No, no it’s not. Fifth-graders know what pi is… this isn’t deep stuff here.
Other than that… I wasn’t keen on our Feral Friend killing his cat. Don’t like seeing animals get hurt, even two-dimensional ones that I haven’t even met yet… though, I suppose that does drive home the point that he’s a changed man post-treatment. Gotta wonder though, if this cat can survive months without being fed… it oughta be able to shrug off being chucked into a wall.
Overall… this was… ehh. It was fine. Can’t get too mad at it, though I will say, I’m not all that excited for our next chapter.
Tomorrow: We come full circle… but, it ain’t yet the compilation post!