Mister Negativity, and Other Tales of Supernatural Law

By Batton Lash
176 pages, black and white
Published by Exhibit A Press

Who doesn’t know a couple of lawyer jokes? As long as there have been people to argue the law, there’s been humor about the profession. The secret, then, is to make sure that your lawyer jokes are better than anyone else’s. With Batton Lash’s latest collection of his comic Supernatural Law, he proves that he doesn’t know just a couple of lawyer jokes, but a whole case file full… and fortunately for you, they’re well worth hearing.

Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd are attorneys whose clients are a little different than most other lawyers’s. You see, they represent all sorts of supernatural beings, from vampires to magicians, and from gorillas to repentant demons. What do their clients all have in common? The need for good attorneys, of course. Assisted by Mavis, the World’s Greatest Secretary, Wolff and Byrd are ready to go to bat for their clients… even if their clients are a little batty. Literally.

Collecting seven issues of the comic into a single volume, Mister Negativity, and Other Tales of Supernatural Law contains two of my favorite issues of the series to date. There’s a story from Mavis’s third one-shot comic, where Mavis gets split into three different parts of her personality. What immediately grabbed me about this story was that it focuses not on the gimmick of there being three Mavises running around, but how seeing the three parts of her personality manifested makes all three parts of Mavis have to come to a decision about her life, if and when they all re-integrate. At the other end of the spectrum is Supernatural Law #33, which has a dead-on perfect parody of Dave Sim’s long-running comic Cerebus, down to the point of having me almost on the floor wheezing with laughter. Lash nails not only story aspects of Sim’s Cerebus, but even the smaller points of the art style. The great news is that the other five stories in Mister Negativity are all fun, and fall into all points of the spectrum between serious drama and goofy parody. From a nightmare-land trial involving best-selling horror author Steven Gink, to an 800 pound gorilla who’s ready to sit wherever he wants, Mister Negativity delivers.

Lash’s art proves to be nicely versatile in Mister Negativity, able to handle whatever Lash’s fevered imagination comes up with. Lash’s basic style is a slightly cartoonish look at the real world, but able to go over the edge when his stories warrant it. There’s a real nice usage of grays that Lash uses to shade his work, giving it texture and depth. What really stands out in Mister Negativity, though, is how Lash changes the look and feel of the book when the story warrants it. Lash’s take on Steven King, for instance, turns into a prose book with spot illustrations. The Cerebus parody, likewise, shifts its panel borders and lettering style to look exactly like Sim’s issues of Cerebus. Comic books are a visual medium, after all, and Lash makes sure that his art nails his subject as well as his writing.

If you’ve never read Supernatural Law before, this is a great way to check it out for yourself. With seven issues in one volume and a wide range of subject material, you’ll get a really good feel for the fun of Supernatural Law. Don’t be like the titular character of Mister Negativity one minute longer, because this book will definitely put a smile on your face.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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