Nightshade #1 1997 $2.50 U.S. $3.70 Canada
No Mercy Comics Woodland Hills, California
by Mark Williams
So, full disclosure. The only reason I picked this book to read was that it was published by Rikki Rockett's comic book company No Mercy Comics. For those unaware, Rockett was the drummer for '80's glam rock band Poison.
Way back in 1986 Poison was the absolute best band in the world to the ears of yours truly. From the moment I saw the video for 'Nothin' But A Good Time' at age nine I loved Poison. It wasn't until I ventured into my broody teenage angsty phase and discovered bands like Nine Inch Nails that I began to lose interest in Rockett's band.
Anyway, in the late '90's (during a seven year gap between Poison record releases) Rockett started No Mercy Comics. He is credited in this book not only as President of the company but also given second billing on the creative credits page as "Special Effects-Design-Production". Not really sure what he did though. Maybe he added some photoshop effects to Williams' watercolor artwork?
Who knows. But without further ado,
I give you... Nightshade!
Our tale opens on a lone figure as he rushes through the dark streets of Arkham, Massachusetts just before midnight. It is pouring down rain and he is obviously being chased by something ghastly.
A black van speeds up behind him and the man leaps into a pile of trash on the side of the road to avoid being hit. The van screeches to a halt and the man is stricken with fear. Suddenly the fearful man notices he is at his destination! But an iron gate with ominous symbols bars his way.
The man screams to let him in. The door to the house behind the gate opens...
Dr. Belknap opens his front door and immediately recognizes the lone figure beckoning from the other side of the gate... but it's too late!
The van has rammed poor Parker against the iron gate, smashing him into a broken mess. As he is squished to death Parker tosses a package through the bars onto the grounds beyond the gate.
The occupants of the van emerge and began threatening Dr. Belknap.
The demonic figures proclaim to the fresh corpse of Parker that he has stolen their secrets but "Death will not be your escape!" One of them begins to cast a resurrection spell!
Parker lives once again but it is a horrid existence he awakens to. His broken bones and ruptured innards cause him to shriek in pain. The head demon demands Dr. Belknap to give them the package that Parker has tossed through the gate!
The demon grabs the gate but is burnt by the bars. The gate is protected from the demonic by a spell!
Suddenly the demons realize that during the commotion Parker has slipped away.
They grab a Byakhee (some sort of hideous creature on a leash from the back of their van) and head off on foot to find Parker. Once they leave, Dr. Belknap sits in his study to figure out what to do. He is relieved when three of his friends arrive. Titus Sabreton, Howard Campbell and Magellan, three fellow enemies of evil and all around bad ass hombres! They decide to arm themselves and look for the demons.
But as soon as they walk outside they are greeted with a grisly image... Parker has been skinned and left hanging on the front gate as a grim message from the van full of demons!
The men cut him down and put his body in the cellar. Then Dr. Belknap makes a call for some help...
While they wait for this mysterious help to arrive they discuss the events leading to Parker's demise. He had apparently infiltrated a cult and gained access to their inner circle. He was able to steal a box adorned with demonic symbols that was in the package he dropped on Dr. Belknap's grounds earlier that evening. The men can't figure out how to open the cryptic box. But I bet I know who can... Glenn Danzig!
Oh, wait...that's just Nightshade and his man servant Go (that's right, his name is Go). Well, hopefully Nightshade is half as tough as Danzig and can help Dr. Belknap and crew fight these demons. We'll have to find out next issue!
Fun comic! I would certainly read more if I find them in my dollar bin diving.
Now here is my depiction of Titus Sabreton from Dr. Belknap's demon fighting crew:
Join me back here in 30 when we take a peek at...