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Man Goat & The Bunnyman: 2023 Spring Special Review

9 min read

Never trust everything on the internet … it can be a hoax hidden behind the truth.

Creative Staff:
Writer: Joe Brusha
Artwork: Guillermo Fajardo
Colors: Walter Pereyra
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Logo Design: Josh Burns

What They Say:

It’s the Man Goat and Bunnyman 2023 Spring Special filled with cryptids, monsters and maybe an exploding egg or two. Don’t miss this double sized special issue as Phil and Floyd go on an epic adventure to rescue his long lost father from the clutches of an evil freak show magnate who wants to add the two heroes to his menagerie of strange creatures.

Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):

At an opulent mansion hidden away in Northfield, Vermont, an exclusive gathering summons an odd array of guests as they gain entry via a curious password, the latest pair made more suspicious due to their peculiar choice of masks, even as their conversation turns toward the reason they are here, with the employer guiding Mr. Cooper to observe what is held within a menagerie of enclosures, causing the purposeful hunter to recognize the imprisoned as an assemblage of some of the monsters he captured in the past, even as other paying visitors gaze at the suffering cryptids who reflect personable expressions hidden behind bestial faces. Yet as others gawk at the amusing exhibition, it is the touring duo who stop at a particular cage and addresses its hostage with a callous greeting, laced with cold familiarity as they gaze upon the masculine features of a subdued rabbit man, his once dapper suit now stained by tossed drinks and a well-worn headband hanging above a defeated brow, with the supposed rescuer boldly stating his suffering is almost at an end. However, the disturbing display is soon interrupted as a rotund man greets his company, raucously welcoming all to his private freak show by stating they are but a privileged few who are lucky enough to witness the spectacle, and for the right price they can do whatever they please, even if it involves fulfilling perverted desires. It is then when the singular guest addresses Mr. Barnum and offers to purchase the dejected captive, although the prosperous carnival owner states he is not for sale, the insistent buyer boldly declares anything can be bought for the right price, making his offer more agreeable as the associate produces a set of pictures as suitable collection replacements, showing candid shots of Man Goat and Bunnyman, to which the greedy entrepreneur readily agrees to this vulgar arrangement.

Meanwhile in their own secluded cabin deep in the Ozarks, Floyd proudly surveys the yard as he verbally admires the hard work of hiding Easter eggs, thinking his friends will spend many fun hours trying to find them, but as he goes back inside and boasts about the amusement Jack and Bowser will have finding the ovoid treasures, Phil wonders why this roommate is not on a date with his girlfriend, to which he sadly states Jill had to go into work to help her sick manager. But as the ruminant partner relaxes with coffee and continues his morning routine of perusing online gossip about cryptid sightings, he pauses for a playful jab of when the rodent and human will finally take the big step, with Bunnyman valiantly defending their chaste relationship and remembering this holiday as being his favorite time spent with his fake father, and yet Goat Man’s attention is not on their serious conversation but the disturbing e-mail he just received, with the attached picture making him highly incensed. However, as Floyd recognizes the beaten image as his real dad and asks his friend to read the message, it is then when Phil becomes suspicious by how this mysterious person knows Floyd has been looking for his lost parent, thinking this chance opportunity has to be a trap, only to have the optimistic rabbit contradict these proper misgivings by thinking the best of this concerned sender, with the cynical partner finally agreeing and replying to the message, afterward asking Tammy for a lift so the pair can greet this merciful benefactor.

In Summary:

When we last saw our heroes at the end of Man Goat & The Bunnyman: Green Eggs & Blam!, the situation concerning a missing father was rather confusing, with clones of him being controlled by Doctor Jackendoff and requiring Floyd’s genetic material in order to make them viable, and yet thanks to Rachel’s foresight to alert Commander Bly to storm the facility, they were able to get everything under control, all while leaving us a happy ending and the lingering question of what would happen to the army of copies, even as it was confirmed the real parent was working for the government and was now on a secret mission. However, as writer Joe Brusha continues the intriguing adventures of these conflicting partners within Man Goat & The Bunnyman: 2023 Spring Special, it seems their less than ideal life continues to attract unsavory characters who are threatened by their very existence, even as those closest to Floyd and Phil consider these hesitant protectors as close to them as family, with their own parents becoming insignificant inconveniences or someone who they still long to find, no matter how unlikely the outcome or the bitterness it may leave behind.

Yet as the special opens upon the pleasant splendor of a well-lit mansion, one cannot but chuckle at the mask selection for the protagonists, making their foul temperament seem less detestable due to cartoonish appearances, and yet that surface disguise soon melts away once we are shown the contents of the disgusting menagerie, making the seemingly innocent password Fidelleo at the door take on an ironic meaning, for instead of being the name of a faithful wife trying to rescue her husband, it becomes the verbal sentry to keep monsters hidden from the world. While we may be fascinated by the passing guilt of a sympathetic guest, it is the shocking sight of a captured rabbit man which causes the audience to question the identity of this prisoner, whether he is the true parent back from a secret mission or one of the clones who were supposed to be secured by the government, either way making his appearance a stunning motivation to drive the story forward. Yet is Floyd’s reaction upon seeing the ransom picture which makes insightful readers wonder how obviously naive this rodent can be, particularly when his father apparently betrayed him in the last
series by surrendering his son to the Doctor in order to further the scientist’s mad schemes, all while he never doubted his parent’s intentions and supposedly not being told the truth in the aftermath by either Bly or Rachel. Therefore, we have to wonder how Bunnyman can be this naturally innocent to still believe in a traitorous parent or so forgetful as to not recall what happened less than a year ago, willing to attempt a rescue even as Phil is doubtful to the validity of sender’s story, his friend never considering it might be a trap, but still surrendering to his partner’s optimistic outlook to hope for the best.

Then we have the opposing side of this twisted conflict, with Harlan introducing himself as an amiable man who knows the location of a kidnapped parent, engendering himself to this hopeful pair as he tells the slanted story of how his family became involved with the conflict against Baphomet, his father directing the battle against a demon worshipper transformed into the Pigman, in turn causing his hostility against cryptids since he blames them for the death of his hero. But as the battle inevitably turns due to cowardly tactics and we learn more about this malicious antagonist’s motivations, with Harlan’s need to decorate his home via grisly trophies made possible by cruel hunters to fulfill a sadistic desire to satisfy some sense of warped justice, it is this arrogance of dominance which causes all to inevitably come tumbling down, with a former foe turned ally and predator into a powerful force to charge into the fray. Yet as we finally learn the truth behind this cruel redhead’s intentions, with his father being the center of his prior story, it is this distorted reflection of how parents shape their children’s future that makes the conclusion of this special so fitting for a man obsessed, becoming one of the freaks he detests by following in his hero’s footsteps and ironically being the source of deeply rooted hatred, even as Floyd becomes closer to the familial connection he has sought, allowing this special to become a wondrous dichotomy of misplaced vengeance versus lingering hope.

Although we may be shocked by the confounding contrasts between parenting styles, it is marvelously reflected within the striking illustrations of Guillermo Fajardo, which makes the opening scene so amusing, to see familiar cartoon characters in a dark place is mildly confusing, it is made more so due to Walter Pereyra carefully controlled color palette, allowing for the detailed linework to become much more refined, from fabric textures to the sobering expressions of suffering upon monstrous faces, this elegant combination of artistic techniques causes the introduction a daring presentation of what is to come. Yet as the audience is revolted by the actions of antagonists, it is the humorous display of normalcy by Floyd’s contagious smile and Phil’s stern glare which allows any prior malice to swiftly disappear, only to have that ingrained joy vanish as we witness a small insert of cruelty, sparking what will be the formative genesis of the special. Fajardo then creates a delightful illusion when we are first shown Harlan, causing any who see the wide grin to immediately trust this person, even if we may have misgivings from his accompanying letter, casually brushing aside that we suspect there may be something else hidden behind that duplicitous smile. The following black-and-white flashbacks are made more chilling due to the shocking usage of crimson framing, and while we may be amazed by the level of detail within each stirring panel, it is Phil and Floyd’s humorous reactions that make an absorbed reader giggle at their reactions to the tale, with the unfolding of this disturbing history becoming a foundation for a sickening obsession and the reveal of a heroic rabbit bodyguard, one which we
have longed for since the beginning, making the wait that much more satisfying to see Floyd become someone who can valiantly protect his friends, instead of panicking amid a pile of shameful pellets.

While Man Goat & The Bunnyman: 2023 Spring Special may be formulaic at times with stereotypical schemes and obsessive behavior for both our heroes and villain, it is also a delightful reflection of how a parent’s actions can influence their children, in ways they may never consider, resulting in consequences that are as unpredictable as the temperaments of the offspring who are forced to carry a family legacy. Yet with charismatic images and immersive colors which lure the reader into the story, one cannot but be immediately enticed to follow what happens to the diverse array of characters, opening with a disgusting showing of how humanity can be cruel to those who are different and those who are rejected can show the most endearing sense of understanding, making us wonder which are truly the superior creatures. However, as Floyd and Phil forge their way toward a brighter tomorrow, readers cannot but smile as we watch these dissimilar partners meet their challenges head-on, never surrendering to hopelessness and pushing forward to become better friends while protecting those they cherish the most, whether they be fellow cryptids or the rare human who wishes to challenge the status quo of hating what they do not understand.

Grade: A-

Rating: T (Teen)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: May 17, 2023
MSRP: $5.99

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