By: Richard Starkings (writer), art by various

The Story: In a recap of sorts, we follow the inner monologue of one of Hip and Ebony’s fellow agents at the Information Agency, as he reflects on the history of the Elephantmen.

What’s Good: I love Elephantmen, but this is the first really good “jumping on point” issue that has come out since the series started.  It gives a nice recap of the series to date, complete with lots of footnotes to previous issues if you want to know more.  Of course, you’d be better off buying the trades or tracking down the back issues, but if you refuse to do that, this issue will get you pretty well caught up before spending the last 2 pages introducing the ominous new story arc that will carry this series for the near future (which looks like a lot of fun, btw).

The other hook on this anniversary issue is that it is drawn with 25 splash pages, each by a different artist.  In some ways, this issue is a little like having an Elephantmen themed sketch-book.  Not surprisingly, my favorite page was by Ladronn who is probably most responsible for the look of the series.

What’s Not So Good: Not a whole lot of new story, here.  I’ll give it a pass for that because this is a special, recap issue, but if you’re a regular Elephantmen reader, you could probably skip this issue and not miss too much as I’m sure the new story arc kernel that is planted at the very end won’t be too hard to pick up on.

The art is also a bit of a mixed bag.  I wish more of the artists had signed their pages a little more clearly.  For a few, it is like playing “Where’s Waldo?” and some seem to lack signatures.  There were a few pages where I said, “Ohhh…that’s nice.  Who did that?” but couldn’t find a signature.  There are also a few pages that just are stylistically so different from what we’re used to on Elephantmen that they just look out of place.

Conclusion: A great jumping on point!  If you’ve been interested in picking up Elephantmen, this is a good place to start.

Grade: A- (if you’re a newcomer), C+ (if you’re an established reader)

– Dean Stell