Monster Matador #11 departs from the gritty, monster-of-the-week (or issue) format and focuses on the danger of humans in a post-apocalyptic society. Ramon and Adelita attempt to get home (somewhere in Mexico) with the help of their Han Solo and Chewey-esque pilot and furry copilot only to be shot down by members of the Guapo Cartel. (Is guapo ever used as a name, or is this literally the “handsome cartel?”) Ramon’s fame as a matador works both as a blessing and a curse with the cartel’s leader, since he isn’t condemned to immediate death or imprisonment. He’ll get a chance to fight something… even if El Chango feels sure that our hero will die after a final fight in the ring.
All Ramon wants in this installment of Monster Matador is to get Adelita home; he’s tired of fighting monsters and needs some time with the people who love them most. The universe (and a well-targeted air craft missile) has other ideas, though, and the group faces a realistic danger: a cartel based in the Mexican desert. Instead of relaxing, the matador must reach into his core for strength, cunning, and resolve, so everyone can find their roads home.
Cartels have been a real fear for people along the Texas/Mexico border for much of my adult life, so I easily felt the stress when the helicopter was shot down (even if I still find the group’s name humorous). Simultaneously, the dialogue is snappy and cheeky, so I laughed out loud while wondering how Ramon would save the day. The reappearance of the redneck cannibals from the US-Mexico border entertained me, as well, and they frequently provided some of the most over-the-top lines.
Creator Steven Prince didn’t get to highlight monsters in issue #11, but the task of drawing an entire cartel of new characters and making them distinct enough to tell apart (The Guapo Cartel adds several more primary focus characters.) is no easy one. He also brought back several characters from previous issues, so maintaining a consistent look for each was important. The Aztec pyramid setting in the jungle was rendered simply, but I found it identifiable and iconic.
Monster Matador #11 ends on a cliffhanger with Ramon facing a new foe in The Arena De Sangre and Carniceria (the Arena of Blood and Butchery). Can the matador prevail yet again armed with his strong faith and desire to protect his daughter and their companions? Will the American cannibals get to suck Billy Dee’s bone marrow? How long will Adelita and George have to play dress up for the cartel? You (and I) can only find out by picking up the next issue as soon as it goes live!
4.5 Surprising Reunions out of 5
Creative Team: Steven Prince (Story and art), Hallie Prince (editor)
Publisher: 2510 Press
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