Background: Pseudo_Intellectual sees Kiss your pants goodbye, Evil One!, /msg's me asking if it's for real, I admit it's all made up, and P_I sends me a true Horror Beyond Imagining...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you 1995's "Sisters of Mercy #1"... The Worst Comic Book of All Time.

First, we have the cover, which is poorly laid-out and drawn by Image Comics co-founder, prettyboy, and hack Rob Liefeld. Three figures are depicted: on the right is a hastily drawn and somewhat lopsided tiger, snarling at us; on the left is a close-up of a pissed-off redhead with an eyepatch and cleavage up to her neck; in the center (well, a bit off-center) is an even more pissed-off woman with purple-and-black hair, purple facial tattoos, and a purple bikini. One arm is apparently cybernetic; she's holding a sword in the other. By all appearances, she is smuggling cantaloupes under her bikini top and has what poor taste demands I call "good birthin' hips." The grimace on her face seems to be an indication either of the effort needed to move that 25-pound rack or of a desire to shishkebab the artist.

We open the comic to the inside cover, where the credits for this issue are printed. Credited to the late Mark Williams are "Plot/Art/Words" while the "Plot/Computer Color/Lettering" is credited to Rikki Rocket. That's right -- the drummer from Poison. Just in case there's any doubt, the issue is dedicated to the cheesy '80s glam metal band.

Okay, now let's get into the story. On the first page, we find three cyborged thugs carrying oversized hand cannons and gloating over a small wolf they've just killed. "Ha, Ha!" says one. "Nice shot Ox!" Ox replies, "Yeah, kinda scrawny though. Maybe it'll make a good lamp shade! Ha Ha!" The caption on this page reads: "A stench fills the morning air. Blood and acrid smoke mingle with an even more repulsive odor... the foul reek of evil and senseless violence!"

Now really, the first thing we notice on Page 1 is that, as bad as Liefeld's cover was, the actual story art is much, much worse. The pencil work is crude, disproportionate, and sloppy, like the work of, perhaps, a moderately talented junior high kid. The "wolf" looks more like a malnourished and deformed terrier. The only things that look like they were depicted accurately are the guns. God, I'm tired of looking at Page 1. Let's move on.

Offended by the wolf's death and the men's stilted dialogue, a woman in a black leather catsuit leaps out, claws two of the men to death and tears half of Ox's face off. Incredibly, she is even more poorly drawn than the wolf is. When Ox threatens to shoot her, another woman, a misshapen, horrific freakshow -- oh, wait. It's actually the chick with the sword from the cover. She's just drawn incompetently. Anyway, she jumps out and cuts Ox's arm off. After screaming some threats while the girls make unfunny remarks, Ox obligingly passes out.

Now the scene shifts to the Mercy Island Correctional Facility, where the prisoners have taken over the place and been heavily cyborged. We follow some scrawny, mentally deficient loser named Buster as he gets threatened by more of the thuggish prisoners and reports to the Doctor, a robotlike butcher who's currently carving a bunch of prisoners up and adding various cybernetic parts. The Doctor doesn't look that bad. He's a fairly stereotypical robot-loving mad scientist, but I've seen dumber looking characters, even outside of this book.

Next the scene shifts back to Ox, who awakens tied up in a boat on a beach covered with crabs. Malina and Mariah (I had to look their names up on the credits page) have inexplicably stripped their clothes off, making it very clear that the artist learned anatomy by taking the clothes off his sister's Grow-Up Skipper doll. The girls demand to know more about Ox's cybernetics, but he refuses to tell them anything, so they push his boat out to sea. Ox's boat sails for the horizon while he alternately bellows threats and whimpers for mercy.

Unfortunately, this was all fairly typical, thematically, of a lot of Image's books in the early- to mid-1990s -- drenched with moronic violence, bad anatomy, and heroes who are just as psychotic and murderous as the villains. I don't know if comic book fans were just dumber back then, or if all the creators were just blithering idiots. "Sisters of Mercy" had at least three issues published, probably more. It was probably considered a great success -- just one more piece of evidence that there is no God. It is my very sincere wish that I never see any further issues of this abomination.

I can't say I really mind comics with psychotic and murderous heroes. I'd just prefer that Evan Dorkin write them...

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