Bento Review: Alice Cooper Volume One: Welcome To My Nightmare

dynamite

I’ll give the folks at Comic Bento this much:  they routinely send me stuff I would normally never read.  It hasn’t always been worth it, but it happens.

Which would explain why I’d ever be writing a review for Alice Cooper.

OK, so, here’s the lowdown.  I was looking over the plot summary on the back cover, and it said that in the story rocker Alice Cooper was the supernatural Lord of Nightmares looking to regain his throne in this horror series.

That sounds an awful lot like Sandman, and not just because Neil Gaiman once wrote an Alice Cooper comic.

But how scary is Alice Cooper?  In his prime, he did an episode of The Muppet Show, which isn’t all that scary.  And for all that Cooper probably invented a good deal of what we’d call showmanship for a rock star, paving the way for others like Marilyn Manson, he’s hardly a huge star right now.  What gives?

Well, it turns out that that stuff may in fact be part of the plot.  The story features Cooper a slave to a demonic manager, one of the Black clan, and since he seems to be forced to sign new acts to this guy, it goes somewhat sideways when at least one guy (a member of a fictional boy band) recognizes Cooper as someone the boy band guy liked, but, more importantly, someone the boy band guy’s mother liked.

See, the series has something of a sense of humor.  Cooper’s antics, even as a poorly-defined “Lord of Nightmares,” don’t seem to scare people like they used to.  After a kid gets ahold of a record that, played backwards, makes Cooper his property or something, the kid sends Cooper off to scare the bully who keeps harassing him.

The bully, who actually has an income spreadsheet for his bullying ways, is not only not the slightest bit scared of Cooper, but also accuses Cooper of being a pedophile and snaps a picture to put online as such on his smartphone.  It seems there is in fact an app for that.  Cooper spends a lot of time being largely confused.

He also has an assistant who looks an awful lot like Vincent Price.

The humor in the series helps.  Cooper may constantly remind people he’s the Lord of Nightmares, but he often seems powerless and confused.  When he does figure out how to beat an opponent, he does so rather quickly and easily.  The pacing is often off, too.

Really, the only plus here is that the series actively plays up Cooper’s status as a former rock god as opposed to whatever he really is now.

As an added bonus, Dynamite got a reprint of Cooper’s first comics appearance from an issue of Marvel Premiere.  That issue was also largely played for laughs, and some of the concepts and character names were transferred over to the new series.

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The end product was OK, nothing great.  It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t well-paced, and it was never better than mildly amusing.  There are some clever ideas in there, but not enough to hold my interest into looking to see if Dynamite made any more.  I’m giving it six and a half talking pythons out of ten.

NEXT BOOK:  I feel like I’m stepping into Jimmy’s territory here…Amazing Spider-Man:  Edge of Spider-Verse, a trade of a mini-series depicting different Spider-Men from different realities who may or may not get killed by the Inheritors.  There’s Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Gwen, and a couple others.

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