Every Universe Needs a Slime Monster

SLUDGE #1, Malibu Comics, October 1993
From Malibu Comics' Ultraverse comes Sludge, yet another slop monster created by none other than Steve Gerber, the same guy behind the Man-Thing. It's the same old curse: Once you've worked on a muck monster comic, you're doomed to do so again. But how many times can you go to the well?

I'm unenthusiastic about Sludge because, well, I've seen it all before. A cop falls into a chemical, then into the sewers. He's turned into a monster and would rather be dead. The monster has the cop's memories, but his mind is affected - he can't think straight. Oh, and get this: When he puts his hands on skin, it turns to putty and he can mash it in gross and exciting ways.
Just like the Man-Thing (a scene just like the one above even occurs in Rampaging Hulk #7).

But it's not the same-old, same-old origin that loses me. It's not even the fact that Sludge is the only character well drawn by artist Aaron Lopestri (and he's a misshapen creature). No, it's the nastiness of the comic. Take, for example, this pointless drive-by that attracts Sludge's attention:
Does there HAVE to be a dead baby in the shot? It managed to go too far and not far enough at the same time. This kind of stuff either has to be subtle or an obvious Garth Ennis-style black comedy. Here, it's just tastelessly violent. More? You fiends. Ok, here's the final demise of a thug (after the others have been face-melted, beaten to death or had their backs broken Bane-style):
Sludge frickin steps on a guy's head and crushes his face into the pavement. That's just sickening.

The two other issues I bought have gory autopsies, women being shot in the head, and people ripped in half by gunfire. Too nasty for any of Gerber's flights of fancy to keep me aboard. By the time Sludge tries to get drunk, well, I knew there was nothing left in the well.



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