I once read that Simon Oliver, the writer and creator of The Exterminators, originally pitched it as a television show, however the person he pitched it to responded by telling Oliver that he should make it into a comic book; so, here we are. Why should you be reading this book? Three reasons: underground luchador rat fighting, a library brothel, and a tidal wave of shit. If those things won’t sell you on this title, nothing will.
This is the second collection in the series, and details the adventures of an extermination company while focusing mainly on their newest employee, Henry James. Like most Vertigo books, there is more to this than the basic pitch of the story. The book’s complexity, combined with its over-the-top moments, make this a very enjoyable read and make you wonder: why didn’t they want to make it a television show?
The artwork is beautifully rendered by Tony Moore, with one interlude issue drawn by Chris Samnee. If nothing else, the artist must have a great eye for detail and a lot of patience in order to draw the copious amounts of vermin and insects that infest the pages of this book. Moore’ cartoon-like style also allows Oliver’s humor to come across quite well. If there are to be future guest artists, this fan would love to see Geoff Darrow do an issue, as his ultra-detailed artwork would be absolutely insane to look at, and Oliver would definitely make him earn his paycheck.
Vertigo titles have been no stranger to dark humor, as epitomized by the now classic Preacher. With The Exterminators, Oliver and Moore craft something that may not be as deep but is certainly is just as crazy and hilarious, maybe even more so. What this title does have are interesting characters that resonate well within the situations that Oliver throws at them. There are a few ongoing plots that are obviously the main plots of the series. The first involves a revolutionary new insecticide that may not be as good as the company that produces it claims. The second ongoing plot involves a mysterious Egyptian artifact that Henry has found. It is interesting to see how Oliver creates multiple ties between characters, such as the fact that Henry’s girlfriend works for the company that produces the questionable insecticide.
The idea that life that we consider “below us” actually has more power than we think is not a new one. However, Oliver and Moore make it seem fresh and highly enjoyable. If you’re looking for a comic that’s a little bit different and at the same time will entertain you immensely, than look no further than The Exterminators. With its intriguing plot and detailed artwork, this is one of the finest books Vertigo is currently publishing. If all of that does not sell you on the title, did I mention the underground luchador rat fighting, a library brothel, and a tidal wave of shit?