Editor Koziol, who clearly hasn't faced a moral majority lynch mob yet, is back with Issue #3 of Decay, and it's better than ever. With one proviso I'll get to. Along with the by now expected dark extras we also get five original stories, including one by award winning Aussie dark genre writer Shane Jiraiya Cummings, and all manner of creepy things that will send well mannered young Liberals screaming into the night. This issue is dripping with menace, just the way we like it, so lets gnaw on the bones and see how the marrow tastes.
Well call me Annie Chapman and make me a Jackie R victim, there is a name for the format Decay is currently delivered in. Apparently we're talking over sized European format, and thanks to the reader who supplied that helpful snippet of information. For those wondering it's much bigger than the standard American comic format allowing for some sizzling cover designs and larger panels with associated enlarged wordage. Just the thing for lounging back and getting your dark genre on. Only trouble is we now need to source some storage folders as our standard comic book ones aren't going to do the business.
Speaking of covers Decay #3's cover is by the SCAR team and emphasises their commitment to the whole retro Sci-Fi thing. While maybe not everybody's cup of slime I was digging it and full marks to Darren Koziol for keeping us guessing on the cover styles.
Story wise we have hit the mother-load with Issue 3. Things kick off with the excellent The Memory remains (Koziol and Thomas), which goes to prove that immortality isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Typical gruesome slant taken their by Korizol and a unique twist that just keeps on coming at you, I loved this one. Tanya Nicholls tells us that crime doesn't pay with the social revenge yarn Crime and Corruption. Apparently part of a much larger work called The Circus Infinitus that promises some Gothic mayhem, will definitely be trying to discover if that's in print somewhere. Shane Jiraiya Cummings dials in with Spin The Witch Bottle, artwork Adam St John, that delivers the typical Cummings punchline those of us who are versed in the Author's flash work are accustom to. Where this one is going to after the final panel I leave to the Individual reader's own level of warped carnage. And finally Waste of Time, Mark Hobby and Steve Colloff, sort of lost me along the way. Time phases and skunks? - didn't get it.
For those with rudimentary maths skills or who are regular Decay readers, yes there is one regular story not included in the top paragraph. Last Issue our dynamic duo of Dan and Sally were trapped in a supermarket by zombies as Oz Zombie heated up and threatened to self combust. Naturally with Issue 3 I immediately paged to the latest instalment of Oz Zombie to see how things would turn out, and Darren Koziol left me flat on the floor, slack jawed, screaming “no”! Koziol decided it was time for a flashback so we could find out how Dan and Sally came to be driving around South Australia during a zombie outbreak, with nary a thought to how they were going to get out of the supermarket that dripped rotten flesh. Besides adding some background to the on going comic, I'm not happy, not happy at all, I want my on going story arc! Which I guess means there's going to be a mad rush for Issue #4 with small nuns being trampled in the rush, blame Dazza Koziol, he drove us to this.
Overall, and taking into account the lack of supermarket action, I was more than impressed with the story selection in Issue #3. Each tale of the unexpected was well constructed with the differing approaches to the artwork working like a wild thing that remains memorable for all the wrong reasons. Besides the regular features, you just never know what you are going to get in the magazine, which I kind of like as it keeps things fresh and new.
I don't think if I've mentioned this before, but each issue of Decay comes with one of those mazes you are meant to solve with a pencil, and invariably a rubber, (that would be eraser for our North American friends, wipe the snigger off your cake holes right now!). Initially I was bemused by the inclusion, but now kind of think it adds to the general mayhem and helps Decay thumb it's nose at the mainstream. Not that I ever take pencil to my copy of the magazine, pristine order baby, the early editions are going to be collectors items in due course.
Due to the new Editor tipping his toes in the dark waters, and not wanting to show we have fish that bite, I'm closing this review off here at something like the official wordage count. As ever if after a copy or five of Decay than hit the Dark Decay Dungeon, and use the “contact us” option. At only $8 an issue that's a regular steal kids.
[Editor: You actual went over the word limit, some judicious pruning later]