By: Michael Moreci & Steve Seeley (writers), Axel Medellin (art), Charo Solis (flat colors), Jim Campbell (letters), Jenny Frison (cover)

The Story: The Hoax Hunters team has a new rival.

Review (with SPOILERS): Have you ever accidentally stopped reading a newer comic series?  You enjoyed the series and didn’t intentionally drop it, but suddenly you realize you’ve missed 3-4 issues and you think, “Gosh, it’s way too much trouble to catch up and if I try to skip to the current issue, I’ll be horribly confused!”  I’ll bet it has happened to you and it happened to me with Hoax Hunters.

I’m friendly with writer Michael Moreci on Twitter and he mentioned that a new story arc was starting this week.  It seemed like an interesting chance to do something different.  Instead of reading all the issues I’d missed, I’d just dive back in with the new issue.  Gasp!  That’s right!!!  I’m going to skip issues instead of catching up!  Don’t tell anyone that I’m doing it wrong!

What I found was a very enjoyable story.  The recap page did all the “catching up” that I needed and from there I just bounced in and had fun.  Even if you haven’t read a single issue of Hoax Hunters, you’d be fine starting right here and I’d urge you to give it a try because there’s a lot to recommend this series.

The main attraction for me is the subject matter.  The premise of the series is that the Hoax Hunters are a reality TV show that investigates and debunks paranormal sightings: bigfoot, swamp monsters, aliens, etc.  Or…that’s what they tell the public.  They’re actually secret agents who are covering up the existence of these paranormal things that actually exist.  So, if you enjoy the paranormal, you’ll probably appreciate the series.  This particular issue finds the HH crew challenged by a rival reality show to investigate paranormal garden gnomes.  And since we all know that garden gnomes are evil as hell, there is a lot of nastiness for our heroes to get pulled into.

The comic is very well written and the characters are all enjoyable.  It’s also quite humorous although I think the humor is probably why I moved away from the series.  The humor just isn’t quite my style, but that’s because I’m weird and enjoy humor that is blacker and meaner than Hoax Hunters serves up.  Trust me, I have a strange sense of humor.  Normal people would find this quite funny.

It’s also a very attractive comic.  Drawn by Axel Medellin, I think it looks better than when I last visited the series.  If you’ve only seen Axel’s art in the pages of Elephantmen, this is a completely different style for him.  It’s also very different from the Frank Cho-esque art he was doing in 50 Girls 50.  If I had to guess, I’d speculate that he was trying a new(er) style with this series and it took him a few issues to find his stride.  He’s found it now and it looks great.  What really impressed me is that he’s working in a fairly realistic style and there is nary a funny face of body in the whole comic.  I also like how economical Axel is being; he’s putting down the lines and details necessary for the story, but isn’t noodling.  And he still draws a really sexy lady.

I can’t tell you how impressed I am that the same artist produces Elephantmen and this totally different style in Hoax Hunters.

Conclusion: No need to catch up.  Just dive back in.  It’s a great series.

Grade: A-

– Dean Stell