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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Terror Assaulter (O.M.W.O.T) (Action) (Humor) (Graphic Novel)

by Benjamin Marra     

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (September 22, 2015)
Softcover, 100 pages
Amazon Listing 

In this case the acronym O.M.W.O.T. stands for “one man war on terror”, and is sort of a sixties throwback to the days of U.N.C.L.E. and S.H.I.E.L.D. where acronyms were all the rage. This story is one of the most bizarre send-ups of the terrorism, hyper-action genre that I have ever read. At first, I just thought it was ridiculous and stupid, but the more I read the more it grew on me - the humor stood up and waved and I was sucked in.

The plot goes that a group of disavowed ultra-violent agents, called Terror Assaulters, are unleashed on a world rife with terrorism. There are four tales here and they get increasingly bizarre. The first one almost seems standard, O.M.W.O.T. goes undercover to get some stolen information, ends up killing everyone and doesn’t recover it, but bangs a hot woman in the end. The ridiculous violence is everywhere in the story, but after this it goes off the rails.

In the second episode, O.M.W.O.T. is on a plane which is subsequently high jacked by terrorists. He kills most of them with an assault rifle, along with several of the passengers (I can’t tell if he did this deliberately or not). He then has a homosexual sexual encounter while trying to land the plane, which is about to crash as OMWOT missed a terrorist who managed to blow off the back end of the plane, causing most of the passengers to fly out the other end.

In the third, Terrorists have taken over America and OMWOT has to shoot and fuck his way through hordes of them, only to find the ringleader was one of his own, a Terror Assaulter. In the last and strangest tale, OMWOT is forced to marry a woman who turns out to be the villain from the previous story after a sex change and the entire thing devolves into a series of trans-sex scenes that ends with our hero staring off at a vision of King Arthur in the distance- Don’t ask, I don’t know why.

This book is an absurdist reaction to the War on Terror from the early 2000s. The action is deliberately ridiculous and made to put the real world into perspective. Adding to the absurdity is all the expository dialogue. Many of the characters scream out what is being shown in the scene. “Ahh, you’ve cut my throat and killed me.” “You shot my arms off.” “I’m immediately experiencing orgasm.” “”We’re coming at the same time as you crash land the plane.” All of these are actual lines from the book. Again, at first it all seems stupid, but the oddity grows on you.

The art is maybe the weakest part. It is awkward, many stiff limbs and, what seems like, hastily drawn action scenes. The artist has talent, but needs to develop it more- or else this was deliberate to coincide with the material- I don’t know. The coloring is minimalistic- less than four color comics, but that also seems to be a stylistic choice. However it does obscure some of the lines, so it may have been a poor choice.
For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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