Police officer Archie Buckler was deep undercover in an operation to bring down one of Brick City’s most powerful crime lords when a mysterious monster appears from nowhere and eats his target. This ticks off Buckler.
As it turns out, this monster can talk, and the mayor makes him Buckler’s new partner. He’s called Vinegar Teeth, because his breath is awful. Buckler is no happier about this.
Vinegar Teeth #1 provides a surrealist opening that is so strange that you can’t help but to let yourself be dragged along by its madness. Crazy monster shows up? Okay. It’s made into a hero? Sure, why not? He’s a police officer now? Oh, alright.
What helps is that Vinegar Teeth is actually a pretty charming character. It doesn’t really know anything about itself. The name “Vinegar Teeth” was given to him by someone else. It just seems intent on helping Buckler because it’s the nice thing to do.
Buckler himself is an entertaining character too. He’s perpetually pissed off and grouchy, and the world seems intent on only making him angrier and more baffled.
I feel like there may be some allegory in here about how quickly we are to make heroes out of people (in this case, a literal monster), but the surreal tone and atmosphere makes it hard to really latch onto an idea like that.
The breezy pacing of the comic aids in the utter absurdity of it all. There’s no time spent explaining any of these concepts. It just goes from one point to the next, never pausing to ponder its oddities or macabre moments.
Troy Nixey’s caricature-esque designs of its protagonists helps to bolster this bizarre world. Buckler looks outright strange, and Vinegar Teeth is an eldritch-looking shambling beast. The world is overall quite ugly but in a charming manner, much like its titular monster. Guy Major’s darker and brown-centric color palette complements this visual design very well.
Vinegar Teeth #1 is a fun and bizarre excursion into this pseudo-noir world that happens to have a monster. It is a surreal read with complementary art, and I can easily recommend it. It’s strangely absorbing, and you should check it out.
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