“PROOF: ENDANGERED” #1 (Comic Review)

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Originally posted at Fangoria.com on January 1, 2011

Image Comics’ PROOF: ENDANGERED is the tale of a secret agent who hunts and protects mythological creatures. Monsters, gangsters and shadowy government agents are all after the cryptid known as Bigfoot. The first issue of PROOF sees the Sasquatch relentlessly search for the truth about his mysterious past.

In this version of the oft-retold legend, Bigfoot was captured by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805. Kept top secret in the hands of the U.S. government for over 200 years at a hidden facility known as The Lodge, the humanoid evolved and developed personality traits, adopting the name John “Proof” Prufrock and eventually donning a flashy suit as he fights other monstrosities.

Proof has lived a lonely life, assuming he was the last of his kind, but when he discovers the severed finger of another Sasquatch, his entire world is turned upside down. Somewhere out in the globe, Proof might have another relative—one that may also be in danger. His quest for answers leads him on a dangerous path to Japantown, San Francisco.

Another kind of cryptid prevents Proof from gathering clues about his past. In an original take on the legend, ENDANGERED’s chupacabra is a deadly predator that wears the flesh of its victims. The chupacabra’s vicious nature is on full display in the blood-soaked opening pages, slashing throats and gouging out eyeballs.

In issue #1, Proof’s girlfriend Isabella and partner Ginger are shopping. As they try on outfits, they discuss the aftermath of leaving their hometown, Seattle. Little do they know, a sadistic three-eyed monster is stalking them. Elsewhere, Proof has his hands full with a local gangster and his henchmen, who all have their guns directly trained on him.

Writer Alex Grecian is a superb storyteller who keeps the plot moving. Though the first issue is packed with characters, he lets each persona breathe through dialogue, allowing new readers to catch up with the latest story arc. The gritty artwork by COWBOY NINJA VIKING’s Riley Rossmo is gorgeous to look at. In Proof’s first appearance, the gangster’s hideout is layered with antiques, paintings and quirky novelty items: The criminal has a Dracula bobblehead on top of his desk and a statue of a dragon somewhere in the corner.

PROOF: ENDANGERED #1 plays out with unexpected twists and turns, ending on a riveting cliffhanger. If you followed the PROOF series, Grecian and Rossmo give you solid reasons to stay, but old and new fans alike should be prepared for something different.

For more about Proof’s previous adventures, visit the official Image Comics site.