Shirtless Bear-Fighter #2 Review

Written by: Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner
Art by: Nil Vendrell
Colors by: Mike Spicer
Letters by: Dan Lanphear
Published by: Image Comics

A review by Stacy Dooks

In an increasingly unstable world, it’s nice to be able to find things you can rely upon with certainty: the sun will rise in the east and set in the west; the Original Trilogy remains a sublime masterpiece despite frequent attempts to tamper with it; every even-numbered Star Trek movie is great; and Shirtless Bear-Fighter remains delightfully insane.

I began this journey with my review of the first issue of Shirtless Bear-Fighter. Issue two is fresh on the stands, so let’s take a look at the eponymous hero’s latest escapade: “Enter the Hillbilly Warlock!”

When last we left Major City, things were looking dire. Bears are on the attack and the army is powerless to stop them. Agent Burke and his young partner Agent Silva have drawn Shirtless out of his self-imposed exile to deliver righteous Bear Punches and Bear Kicks to the nefarious ursine forces plaguing America.

However, after an intense opening battle, the mystery behind why the bears are attacking has deepened. It turns out the bears are being influenced by ingesting a form of hexed bacon. This leads Shirtless on a quest to uncover the source of this southern sorcery: the Hillbilly Warlock! But just whose side is this porcine sorcerer on? Who’s behind the grand master plan to plague the world with bear attacks? And can we answer the deepest and most lingering question raised by the series to date: do bears play golf?

That’s about as far as we can go into the plot without getting into spoiler territory. Let me say, so there’s no ambiguity: Shirtless Bear-Fighter is a hoot. It’s a book that understands exactly what brand of silliness it’s selling and wears the adventure-comedy right on its sleeve (assuming its protagonist had any).

The art by Nil Vendrell is the biggest draw. Visual gags provided by Shirtless’ battles with bears across America made me laugh out loud. That’s to say nothing of the awesomeness that is the bearplane (I will never, ever get tired of that pun) and the tantalizing hints of Shirtless’ backstory as the series progresses. While the story is over the top and silly, it’s clear that Leheup, Girner, and Vendrell have created an emotional core to the character. That allows you to empathize with him, even while you’re laughing at the overall insanity of his smacking around bears and using bombs for clubs.

Of course, for all my enthusiasm for the book, I do recognize that Shirtless Bear-Fighter isn’t for everyone. If you prefer your books to be Serious and Thought-provoking fare, you might want to head on down the aisle. But if you’re looking for a well-crafted and genuinely funny book, I heartily recommend adding this one to your to-read pile.

The Verdict
Buy It.
If you’re into over the top action that loops around parody and back to awesome you should definitely check out SHIRTLESS BEAR FIGHTER. Just don’t eat the bacon, is all I’m saying.

Stacy Dooks
Stacy Dooks is a writer and assorted pop culture fanatic whose childhood fixations on the works of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and DC Comics laid the groundwork for his current status as a pop culture junkie chatterbox. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta while he waits for his TARDIS coral to finish growing. For more of his observations on popular culture, check out The Fanboy Power Hour:

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