The Comic Bucket List #2: Battle Chasers

“The Comic Bucket List” is a limited column where we review 25 comic books and graphic novels we’ve been meaning to read for years. We discover if they were worth waiting for, or if they never quite lived up to the hype they promised.

Joe Madureira, Munier Sharrieff, Adam Warren

Initial Appeal:
There’s the fantasy element, the incredible art, Red Monika’s Monikas, The giant War Golem, and the fact that the universe looks like fun to inhabit. And Red Monika’s Monikas.

Most Memorable Moment:
Calibretto vs. Garrison. One is a bad ass wonderful protector, the other is a whiny super model with a kick ass sword. Calibretto loves Gully, so don’t mess with her, y’hear? I want my own War Golem.

Best Character:
It’s a tie between Knolan and Calibretto. I want my own War Golem. And I want it now. Not to wreck shit, but to be friends with. And Knolan may seem harmless, but the man is brilliant. I want him to mentor me. Get lost, Garrison.

Lives up to Expectations?
No. It goes below every expectation I had. You know it occurs to me that I own about four issues of “Battle Chasers” and I’ve never read them. Back then I’d pretty much buy whatever I found visually pleasing to my eyes and I always followed whatever Wizard Magazine told me I should be buying. So I always avoided the more obscure comics and went right toward whatever they were touting as the next big thing that month. “Battle Chasers” is another in many titles under the Cliffhanger! label that I always wanted to read but never actually had the time to. I bought so many comics during the times I could scrounge up money that I actually put the comics away for a later date and never quite had the chance to read them all.

I hadn’t read Humberto Ramos’ “Crimson” until 2000, in spite of owning a majority of the issues for two years, and “Battle Chasers” has been in my personal collection for years and I never quite managed to check on them. Back then all I knew was that Joe Madureira’s art style was amazing and the style of the comic’s world just screamed potential movie. Now all I know about the comic is that there’s a tall robotic man, and Red Monika who is a sword wielding warrior of some kind with gigantic boobs. Hey when you’re fifteen you don’t forget well drawn comic book characters with big boobs. Not to mention “Battle Chasers” only lasted nine issues with a cliffhanger never resolved. So, I was prepared to be left annoyed by the lack of closure to the narrative. “Battle Chasers” is one of those comic books from the nineties that has a lot of amazing visuals to it. But deep down it’s convoluted, boring, and too fast paced to enjoy.

There are so many characters introduced in the first five issues, it’s tough to keep up. Not just that, but many of the characters are boring, regardless of their wonderful designs. The only really interesting female character is Gully, a young girl who is the key to the entire story. Every other woman have humongous boobs, a thin waist, and zero personality. Even fully clothed female soldiers have an open window for their cleavage. The comic objectifies women so much it becomes painfully boring. One of the major villains is a half naked blond who walks around in a trance and can summon demons from her spirit. Not to mention the most memorable character of the entire book is Red Monika, a master thief who is worshipped because of her humongous breasts.

There are many allusions to sex here with Monika attempting to free a prisoner as his hands are positioned in a grabbing motion conveniently, while a soldier takes the half naked villain and shifts her down to gaze at her cleavage. Seriously, if you want to kill any woman in this universe, just stab her in the cleavage and she’ll be down like a light. Monika is a fascinating character, but she’s only really memorable because she has humongous breasts. Forget the fact she is a master thief, clever, and has two interesting sidekicks. She has two huge breasts, so who cares about anything else? The book goes on in introducing storyline after storyline, and character upon character, and it becomes exhausting after a while.

Granted, Garrison has potential, but the most interesting characters are Gully, the war golem Calibretto, and the wizard Knolan. Everyone else are interchangeable and just so damn uninteresting. Every issue introduces at least five new characters, all of whom we have to get to know, even if they’re just going to be in the issue for a few pages. It’s always a case of: Here’s a new character! Get to know him! Next Page, Here’s another new character! Get to know them! Next page, Here are a group of new characters! Get to know them! And for folks looking for just pages of Red Monika walking around with her gigantic boobs? You’ll be sad to know she’s barely in the final issues of this series. I can not stress enough how stock the characters are.

The big hero Garrison spends most of his time walking around resembling an anime version of Lorenzo Lamas whining and moaning about his days in battle and his dead wife, and then when he decides to cut his hair and fight… he still does nothing but moan, whine, and drag his feet in to combat. Geez Garrison, you have a bad ass sword, you’re still a buff good looking guy in spite of drinking non-stop for many years, and are still very feared among armies for your reputation? Not to mention you went back in to active duty and was immediately accepted rather than laughed at. Stop your fucking whining.

And really: What do these people want? What are they fighting for? Is it the kingdom? Is it the world? Is it the Gauntlets? Will Red Monika and her boobs decide to fight the good fight? And are we supposed to root for her because she suddenly turned good because she wasn’t paid for her job by the main villain? Why in god’s name do we have to know what the villain Aramus’ troubled childhood was like? Mostly, what do the gauntlets do? What do the gauntlets do?!

The most compelling material comes from Calibretto and Gully’s relationship. He loves her so much that he is willing to be destroyed for her, and Gully forms a love for her gigantic protector War Golem. By the seventh issue we learn that Gully is so powerful in her love for Calibretto that magic doesn’t always have to bring him to life. Her unconditional love suddenly begins powering him. I wanted more of that. Not a lot of convoluted, boring, tedious wars and battles. And if Gully has the Gauntlets that can destroy worlds, why not point your guns at her from all ends rather than waste time attacking kingdoms and armies? Not surprisingly the series ended after nine issues, and ends on a final scene where a group of wolves are stalking Red Monika and are about to lay another siege on Garrison and his group.

Also, did you know Garrison and Monika were lovers? It’s heavily hinted in the final pages of issue nine. How do you dump a woman like that? With those… assets? Is the art great? Of course. It’s incredible. But when the story stinks, who cares? I wouldn’t have minded a series focusing on Knolan, his War Golem Calibretto, and young Gully. Once we enter in to an endless series of one note characters, the series takes a nose dive in to sub-par fantasy fodder. I don’t miss it. And apparently no one else does, either.