BUDDY COPS is a mad-cap, irreverent parody of superhero/sci-fi comics and buddy team-up movies. It feels contemporary in a way a lot of comics don’t – it asks if the subversive style of internet-meme humour can sustain itself of a full issue, or even a full series – but it’s also a heartfelt look at wayward souls connecting with other outcasts.
Uranus is a frat-boy space cop, demoted to the NYPD after his crazy, party ways. T.A.Z.E.R. is a police robot, programmed to follow police protocol in exact detail – basically, it’s the buddy cop formula. The two have to take down fantastically bizarre threats – giant orangutan Gods, plant creatures, Kirbyesque monsters – and Uranus takes them down with hilarious gusto. “I STAB you with my GLOWING SPACE SWORD THING.” BUDDY COPS reminds me a lot of Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s CASANOVA – on the surface, it’s hipper than hip, a comics parody with memorable, meta-fictitious dialogue, that’s also intensely personal. Nate Cosby seems to be telling the story of male relationship, specifically men without a firm grasp on reality. When the two part ways and T.A.Z.E.R. finds himself with a new teammate, a cloned personality implanted in a bear’s body, the two realize that they’re the only two weird enough to understand each other. If you’re thinking what I’m saying is ridiculous, this comic is ridiculous – but I do think there is some interesting depth behind the laughs.
Evan Shaner’s art work is fantastic. This is a book that needs to drip with personality, and Shaner’s got that and more to spare. The character interaction between T.A.Z.E.R. and Uranus when they’re fighting versus when they’re awkwardly reuniting versus when they’re getting somewhat along – the space between them, the posture, the expression…that extra level of detail makes all the difference in making the character work. The designs on all of the monsters is equally fantastic, but the real star is Shaner’s own colours. A two page montage (set to Lionel Ritchie) is set in gorgeous blues and oranges. The unstoppable Rus Wooton is on letters, and he does the great work I’m used to seeing from him. From the opening page, Uranus’ shouting profane exclamations at the top of his lung…Wooton’s big, red letters make all the difference.
BUDDY COPS is hilarious and unexpected. Cosby writes a hilarious parody of multiple genre’s, while also telling an interesting story between two complicated, lonely outcasts. It was originally collected in DARK HORSE PRESENTS #14-16, but it’s available in stores now in one collection, BUDDY COPS #1 for $2.99. Unique, hysterical, and unlike anything else on the stands, Cosby and Shanner can create comics that feel fresh and funny, but never pandering.