Tales to Admonish #2 is a trilogy of short stories from the Aussie duo of Andrez Bergen and Matt Kyme, and perfectly summarises exactly what the pair have to offer. Bergen’s writing has a dry, dark sense of humour, and he shows a great knack for realistic and witty dialogue. Kyme’s shadowy, heavily inked artwork, while occasionally lacking deal, has a great level of expressiveness to it and flows smoothly from panel to panel.
The three stories vary in theme and tone, with each only clocking in at around five pages, but in spite of this limited space, Bergen still does a decent job of telling three fully formed – albeit significantly abridged – tales.
The first story, ‘Adam’s Ribs’, features Vampire-slaying duo Roy and Suzie doing what they do best, and boasts some cracking noir-style narration from Roy. Probably the most intriguing of the three stories, this one definitely had me wanting to see more from the main characters, and I really got a kick out of their unusual ‘odd couple’ dynamic.
The second tale, ‘All Fur Coat, No Knickers’ was probably the weakest of the bunch, and featured golden age comics femme fatale ‘Bullet Gal’ thwarting an attempted heist. At only four pages long, with two of these being splash pages, the actual story felt a little rushed, and while I saw the intention of the ‘homage’-style dialogue (“Holy crapoli, it’s that dame Bullet Gal!”), there just wasn’t enough of a hook for it to really grab my attention.
The final story, ‘Salvation Nation’, was probably the complete tale of the trio, and delivered an intriguing and humorous setup with a smirk-raising ‘Twilight Zone’-esque conclusion. Featuring (possibly) the last two survivors of a post-apocalyptic Melbourne stumbling across what may be their only chance for salvation, this one stood on its own merit as a great example of minimalistic storytelling, and while it didn’t hook me into finding out more about the characters (for obvious reasons, as readers will find out) like ‘Adams Rib’ did, it probably left the biggest impression on me out of the whole issue.
So, overall, as a quick-fire ‘appetiser’, Tales to Admonish did one very important thing. It left me undeniably impressed by the abilities and the shared vision of its Aussie creators. Yes, there was the occasional rough line or dodgy panel, but the talent on display was obvious, and I’ find myself extremely keen to dig a little deeper into their other offerings and see what else they’re capable of. They‘re clearly having an absolute blast with what they’re doing, and the enthusiasm and joy that they share for creating these quirky characters and offbeat stories practically jumps off the page at you.
This one is well worth a look, as is – I can only assume – the rest of the If? Commix library. I’ll keep you posted when I find out for sure.
You can find out more about If? Commix on their official website.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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