Review: Axe Cop Volume 1

Published on April 12th, 2011

It only takes one good idea and Axe Cop may be the greatest idea to ever come to fruition. Axe Cop started out as a web series comic drawn by Ethan Nicolle and written by his (at the time it started) five year old brother, Malachai Nicolle. That’s right, this amazing comic is written by a five year old boy. Over the last year and a half this comic has gone from a fun little web comic to a full-length three issue miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics. ComicImpact founder, Simon gave me the first issue of the new mini-series and after reading that, I immediately ordered the trade from Amazon with the intent to feature it on this week’s Trade Tuesday.

This first volume is a collection of the first 70 episodes of the web-comic (which are usually a page long) and the first 42 segments of “Ask Axe Cop.” So, the whole book ends up being 144 pages with all the extra stuff. The extra stuff is really what makes this book worth the cash.

axecopvol1

If you’ve never heard of this amazing comic, let me fill you in. The story focuses on protagonist, Axe Cop. Axe Cop was a normal guy until one day he found a fireman’s axe and then walked into the Axe Cop Police Station where he applied to be an Axe Cop. He is the only person to ever apply and if someone else became an Axe Cop, he would have to chop off their head because there can only be one Axe Cop. Now, he doesn’t fight bad guys all by himself, he has a partner named Flute Cop (who is also his brother, but they don’t remember this because they were both hit on the head at an early age and forgot). Flute Cop later got dinosaur blood on him when him and Axe Cop were fighting dinosaurs which caused him to become Dinosaur Soldier. He later became an avocado and a ghost before returning to the Dinosaur Soldier form. Other members of their team include Wexter, Axe Cop’s pet Tyrannosaurus Rex that has gatling guns for arms, can breathe fire, and can fly. My favorite character though is Sockarang. Sockarang has socks for arms that can be used as boomerangs and also has the power of Christmas from getting blood on him that belonged to an evil version of Santa Claus called Bad Santa.

Axe Cop spends all day and night fighting bad guys. During the day he is regular Axe Cop fighting bad guys with his team and at night he wears a cat suit (complete with kitty-cat ears on the head) and sneaks into the houses of bad guys so he can chop their heads off. Axe Cop only sleeps 2 minutes a day and only eats birthday cake with a little candle shaped like him on the top of the cake for every meal.

Isn’t this the greatest thing you have ever heard in your life?! Just summing this up makes me laugh. Reading this book is like reading Calvin and Hobbes on steroids. I used to think that nobody could capture a child’s imagination as good as Bill Watterson, but Ethan Nicole took something as simple as playing with his little brother in the back yard and turned it into an amazing comic book.

All the content in this trade is available on the Axe Cop website, but with all the extra stuff I really feel this trade was worth the money. First off, it’s got a forward from Kevin Murphy from Mystery Science Theater 300, which is funny enough on its own. Of course it has some pin-up art at the end, including one from Jhonen Vasquez of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac fame. What really makes this trade worth it though are the notes from Ethan Nicolle. Every story and segment has a note from him describing the creative process of making the comic. It’s interesting to read this and watch how it evolves. The first few comic strips are very short and simple, but hilarious. As the book progresses the stories get more detailed and larger in scale. The first comic is a page long and the last one is about 45 pages long. The “Ask Axe Cop” segments are only the length of a comic strip, but they give the reader some pretty interesting back story on Axe Cop that help make sense of the series.

When you get down to it, what we’re reading is little Malachai’s development. I think the only downside to this book is that eventually, he’s going to grow up. Sadly, nobody stays five forever. For now, I’m going to enjoy the adventures of Axe Cop for as long as I can. And you should too, so check out this trade and read it for yourself. Go to Amazon and pick up your own copy, it’s only 10 bucks!

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com