Powr Mastrs Vol. 2
PictureBox, November 2008
My goodness, this is a filthy book! Powr Mastrs Vol. 2 is a “fantasy” in both the generic and sexual senses. A throughline of eroticized mayhem only briefly glimpsed in Vol. 1 (Aphasia the Witch’s boob-bearing corset, and of course the Jellyfish Emperor/Lady Minirex hentai sequence) emerges as the dominant mode of C.F.’s odd indie epic of magic, mad science, and violence. Maybe that’s what makes the violence here so memorable and disturbing–a certain sexualized vulnerability for the victims and animalism for the perpetrators.
The bit everyone’s going to remember from this volume is Ajax Lacewing’s Midnight Express/28 Days Later style dispatch of a giant. The eye-gouging and decapitation are gory enough on their own, but when accompanied by genuinely upsetting smack-talk (“I know you can’t see now, but you can hear me: You’re trash. Giants are trash.”) and Ajax’s erect penis in full money-shot mode, they’re a true violation. The savagery here and throughout (Buell Kazee introduces us to Viskoser Tod, Tetradyne Cola battles Darman Orry) is palpable, as is the sexuality (the Bosch-like construction of Cool George Herc’s nude body, Minirex’s masturbation, the languid psychedelic sensuality of Aphasia and Windlass Wendy Wheetah the Witches, the Sub-Men’s underwater dalliances). And it all makes sense in a way, given that we learn that the plot’s prime mover is the exploitation, and subsequent rebellion, of the sentient creations of the aloof Mosfet Warlock. It’s a strange and sinister mythos, based on the use and abuse of people’s bodies by other people; I can’t help but feel that outside of the world of artcomics there are hardcore SFF readers who would take to this like ducks to water. I’m not entirely convinced that it justifies a $18 price point for what is essentially one-sixth of a larger story, but this is impressive work.