The latest entry in Sfar and Trondheim’s sardonic funny animal fantasy series, Dungeon: Monstres (subtitled: Night of the Ladykiller) puts the focus on two more of the French comic’s secondary characters. The first, title story “Night,” focuses on young Horus, the vulture sorcerer, while he is still a student. Possessed at night by an unknown, horny figure, Horus winds up seducing and impregnating a bevy of animal damsels — something he could never do if he were in full possession of himself. (Women find him “too intellectual and unreachable,” Horus states.) Our hero’s efforts to uncover the identify of his possessor lead to a contretemps in the morgue plus an attack by reanimated animal corpses.
Second entry, “Ruckus at the Brewers,” centers on Grogro, a muppet-y monster who is sent on a seemingly simple errand: to bring back some barrels of beer from a rabbit-run brewer. Simpleminded lummox Grogro is like Sergio Aragones’ barbarian goofball Groo in that he tends to bring catastrophe down on anyone who teams up with him — and this tale proves no exception. In this case, the comic mayhem turns on a bloody bar fight and a gladiatorial show wherein Grogro takes on his sword wielding opponents using nothing but a broom and his Cookie Monster maw.
Guest artists Jean-Emmanuel Vermot-Desproches and Yoann hold to the series’ world of elaborate medieval-esque setting and believably rendered funny animals, though to these eyes Vermot-Desproche’s slighter harder edge ink work on the title story is more appealing than Yoann’s more softly focused “Ruckus.” Still, lovers of Sfar and Trondheim’s ongoing send-up of hero fantasy shouldn’t be disappointed by this rollicking entry — which would also make a decent entry point for newcomers to this inventive comics entertainment.
As with previous volumes in this series, Volume Four is written for a mature readership: in “Ladykiller,” we get panels of Horus’ buxom nekkid lovers that reminded this reader of the glory days of Fritz the Cat, while the fight sequences in “Ruckus” prove cartoonishly grisly. Though not as dark as the third Monstres volume, it’s still far removed from the world of Uncle Scrooge and the gang.