The Offering concludes in this issue, as Gabborin and Da Sacco bring their initial Puppet Master storyline to a close. While the middle segment of the trilogy felt really lackluster, Gabborin saves up some energy for the finale. Is it good?
Puppet Master #3 (Action Lab Comics)
In this chapter, we learn how Corey became the next Puppet Master and just what those creepy doll offerings scattered around the Bodega Bay are all about. When Corey finishes his “how I did it” speech, though, the puppets might have a thing or two to say about it.
I’ve said before that The Offering reads like it was made for the trade, with the pacing being all over the place. Ultimately, I don’t think it was too bad a story, but it hasn’t flowed right for monthly consumption. For example, there’s a flashback in this issue that establishes the romance between the two main characters and provides a plot germ for Corey’s motivations. However, this is the last issue. Something like that would have functioned better in the first issue or early in the second, not saved all the way for the finale.
The puppets get their opportunity to stop acting like mindless killing machines and display their unique personalities. In this regard, Gabborin shows how well he understands the puppets (though his knowledge of Puppet Master was never in question; he’s done his research). For instance, you’ve got Jester taking pity on Beth and trying to help her, or a little moment where Pinhead sympathetically helps Corey up after he’s been knocked down. Both puppets have been shown in the films to be friendlier or more docile (so far as killer puppets go) and these little things carry on their established characterizations, making them feel stronger.
And we also get an explanation as to why Decapitron has been letting all this madness go on. That had really been bugging me. It comes off as exposition heaped on top of even MORE exposition, but it clears things up. Da Sacco draws an excellent rendition of Guy Rolfe, too.
I can’t say I didn’t see the ending coming, but mostly because it’s how every Puppet Master film ends. The puppets develop a conscience and turn on their wicked master. I won’t hold it against Gabborin since it’s almost a Puppet Master tradition at this point. To his credit, the epilogue was pretty good.
Is It Good?
All in all, I think The Offering is a decent Puppet Master story that just needed some extra polish. It didn’t read too well on a monthly basis, but taken altogether the pacing isn’t so bad. Gabborin is clearly a fan of the movies and there’s no questioning that he knows his puppets. Some neat ideas are introduced to the mythology in this arc, such as all the titular offerings. The numerous dolls lining every shelf of the hotel gave me flashbacks to Dolls, an earlier Charles Band film about killer toys that also starred Guy Rolfe.
For Puppet Master fans, well, you aren’t exactly spoiled for choice at the moment, but I think there’s enough content in here to slake your thirsts. I’d actually like to see more Puppet Master stuff from Action Lab and Gabborin, but perhaps with a longer arc.