Many readers know Alex Robinson from his award-winning graphic novels, Box Office Poison and Tricked. But for a brief interlude, Alex Robinson has eschewed ensemble dramas filled with multi-layered characters and intense human psychology for Lower Regions, a terse, comic tale of a girl barbarian swinging her ax and busting some heads.
Imagine that Robinson has summoned the spirit of Robert E. Howard and then hooked it on crack, and you have Lower Regions. The female barbarian and her elf-like sidekick descend into an underground cavern where she duels, fights, and engages in a series of smack-downs with a seemingly endless collection of ghouls, monsters, ogres, etc. to save someone important to her.
THE LOWDOWN: Like Mel Brooks teaches in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, if an artist is going to parody or send-up a genre, then, that parody should look and feel like what it’s going to send-up. Lower Regions is a firecracker of a comic spin on sword and sorcery that looks like sword and sorcery. As crazy in the head as S&S’s most famous practitioner (the aforementioned Howard, creator of Conan), Lower Regions is just plain fun to read. A few pages in, this little book just explodes in your hands and face when an ogre comes charging out of the cavern’s shadows with his penis swinging out in the open.
In fact, Lower Regions seems to enjoy giving a sexual charge, as much as it delivers violent kicks via hacked off limbs and gore. Bulging muscles vie for attention with bulging chests (and one ogre’s sagging loincloth suggests he’s packing something like a small car in there) and that makes Lower Regions some good-old fun sex and violence.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Adult readers with a sense of humor and who want the sword in sword and sorcery hacking, slashing, and generally being thrust into someone or some thing.