Happy Halloween, my friends. Here’s hoping your terrifying spirits soar with delight on such a momentous day. As such, I welcome you to the final chapter of…
What else can one say about this independent series? If you’re interested in giving this series a read, it’s available for sale in both print and digital form over at the online store for Shiner Comics. Now, it’s time to see how our main tale comes to its conclusion.
With our cover showing Kenny, Bobby, Katie and Leon facing their monstrous foe with burning debris falling around them, this gives the feeling of a climactic showdown. Also, there’s no backup story for us to deal with. As such, let the final fight begin!
Part 5 opens with Kenny and Leon running for their lives after their friends were just viciously murdered by the Lake Erie Monster. Shortly afterwards, they come across the rest of our heroes, led by a shotgun-wielding Detective Wayne Price.
Our two young boys inform them of the vile creature that they just encountered. Afterwards, Det. Price tells them to go find a pay-phone outside of the park and call for backup as he proceeds to lead the rest of our heroes deep into the park. However, Kenny wants to go back and help out. In particular, he wants to get Tony’s backpack since he brought a specialized weapon in their hunt.
Meanwhile, Det. Price and our heroes venture deep into the amusement park when newspaper reporter Drayton spots the titular creature carrying away the blooded remains of Kenny and Leon’s friends.
Suddenly, the Lake Erie Monster spots them and goes in for the kill. Fortunately, Det. Price gets his shotgun out and fires away at the vile creature, scoring some vicious hits in the process.
Just then, Shelly Bernshaw notices something coming up from behind. To his shock and the rest of the gang’s surprise, there’s TWO Lake Erie Monsters lurking about. As such, the second creature proceeds to hit Shelly away from the gang.
Wayne notices the second beast in time and tells the youngsters to run for it before he unloads a shotgun blast inside the first monster’s mouth. To help Katie and her friends escape, Det. Price’s younger brother Pete grabs a fence point and jabs it through the second creature’s mouth.
However, Wayne’s shotgun runs out of shells as the blue monster manages to brutally injury the Cleveland detective.
Just then, Kenny and Leon return with Tony’s special surprise: a Molotov Cocktail called a Maul-It-Off. Kenny proceeds to toss one at the blue monster, causing it to get set on fire. Giving Katie and Bobby the time they needed to recover, they join the two young boys as they try to outrun their flammable pursuer.
They proceed to get inside a funhouse before getting a piece of wood and lock the front door. With one last Maul-It-Off to defend themselves with, they hold up in the building while the blue monster tries to break down the door.
Meanwhile, Pete attends to his injured brother. Noticing that the first monster is still clinging to life, Drayton grabs a nearby rock and proceeds to smash it onto the beast’s head.
Back at the funhouse, the second creature finally manages to break down the door. Bobby attacks with the remaining Maul-It-Off as the monster withstands the infernal strike. With the building starting to catch fire, our heroes are forced to find their way out.
Meanwhile, Drayton and Pete are tending to Wayne’s vicious injury. At that moment, the Lake Erie Monster manages to get back up, despite the shotgun wounds and its mutilated face. Det. Price tells the reporters to go save the youngsters while he tries to hold off this creature.
However, the honorable lawman doesn’t get the chance to fight back as the Lake Erie Monster brtually strikes his head and kills him. Pete is distraught by what happened to his brother, but Drayton reminds him that they have to go save the youngsters as they headed towards the burning funhouse.
Meanwhile, our youngsters manage to make their way out. With the blue Lake Erie Monster close behind, they proceed to climb onto the roller coaster in order to elude it.
With the original creature in hot pursuit, Drayton and Pete do their best to elude the vicious beast. Suddenly, they spot some bright lights closing in. It turns out to be Shelly who’s driving Wayne’s car as he proceeds to hit the Lake Erie Monster and crash it into a tree, pinning the beast and finally defeating it.
Afterwards, Drayton reminds both of them that their fellow friends are still being pursued by the remaining creature. Before they head out, Shelly reminds the reporters of a “Plan B” that Wayne was keeping in the trunk. Upon looking inside, all three gentlemen suddenly feel overwhelmed with newfound confidence.
With the blaze spreading towards the roller coaster, our young heroes continue to flee for their lives. With the lone Lake Erie Monster still in pursuit, Bobby tells Katie to get Leon and Kenny to safety while he deals with the beast.
And so, Bobby proceeds to confront the fierce creature. Just then, the weak boards give way as the Lake Erie Monster ends up meeting its fate by falling and ending up impaled on some sharp pieces of wood.
With a calming sense of relief pouring onto our heroes, they proceed to climb down the roller coaster and meet up with Shelly, Drayton and Pete.
Just when Pete tells our heroes that they also brought some TNT, Kenny brings up the nest that’s within the nearby cave. To put a permenant end to this terror once and for all, Pete (who mentions that he worked with explosives before) will place the dynamite inside the grotto.
As such, he proceeds to head inside and place the TNT onto the unnatural nest. A short time later, he emerges with newly-hatched creatures latched onto him. After yelling to his friends to take cover, Pete sacrifices himself as the cave proceeds to blow up.
With our heroes mourning the sacrificial loss of the Price brothers, our heroes proceed to head towards the main gate as both the police and the fire department arrive to get the situation under control.
We then cut to Shep’s lab on September 1973 where Roy Drayton gets the anaylsis. It turns out that the found sample turns out to be a chemical called Oxidihydro-Benzolene and its connected with Mr. Kettle’s illegal toxic dumping. However, the worst punishment he would receive would be a littering fine due to his well-placed legal connections. Shep then mentions that the recently-destroyed nest could only be one out of many that this particular creature could have come from.
We then cut to a boat out on Lake Erie where Mr. Kettle is out fishing alongside his lawyer. He mentions how there’s hardly any incriminating evidence against him and that Pasterak’s blackmail would hardly be able to do much against him. Just then, his fishing line manages to get a bite. And so, our story ends with him unaware that numerous Lake Erie Monsters are making their way onto his boat to give him his fatal comeuppance.
Believe it or not, the fifth episode of “Commodore’s Cleveland” wasn’t published in this comic. It actually debuted in an issue of Scene Magazine, a Cleveland-area publication. In that issue, it was the periodical’s first comics issue and it was part of an theme called “Cleveland: Past, Present, and Future”. Numerous stories were published in the magazine, but we’ll focus on Episode 5 here.
In the only black-and-white entry of this series, Zombie Perry proceeds to tell us the tale of “The Ohio City Devil”. It all began on February 3, 1989 when a young man was mysteriously attacked while waiting for a late night bus. Over the next several weeks, more gruesome attacks in the Ohio City area continued to pop up. Despite police efforts to cover up the incidents, any and all effort was erased when the titular being attacked a bus full of passengers on February 25. From there, his whereabouts varied from people to people. Some say that he moved to Pennsylvania and made the Keystone State his new hunting grounds, while others say that a group of kids went to its nest inside Franklin Castle and burned it alive while the building itself proceeded to burn to the ground. Meanwhile, other people claim that it’s still out murdering people while the police just cover up the incidents.
Fortunately, our featured issue did have its own “Commodore’s Cleveland”. Here, Episode 6 has Zombie Perry weaving the tale of the “Black Bus”. This demonic vehicle that takes its passengers to parts unknown dates back many years when it used to be a black horsedrawn carriage. After it became a black streetcar, it ended up becoming a black bus. To get aboard this grisly means of transportation, one would have to visit a decommissioned bus stop. It would arrive at exactly midnight and to be allowed passage, you would need a different kind of bus fare. Instead of normal coins, you would need something demented, ranging from a live sparrow or even the blood of a virgin.
As long as we’re in the spirit of Halloween, here’s an extra treat for you: A bonus review where I look at the 2014 Summer Special issue of The Lake Erie Monster. Originally, this was sold in a limited edition set with the other five issues. Fortunately, I downloaded a digital copy of this issue for free. For our cover, we have a demonic being as a fully-developed embryo. How fitting since it foretells what demonic tale awaits us in a tale called “The Weight Of A Fly”.
We open on a prologue where a woman is traveling through a jungle. However, she’s unaware of a mysterious creature that’s waiting behind the bushes and preparing to strike.
We then move into our main story where a group of people are protesting against a Family Planning clinic for its approval of abortion.
Just then, one of the protesters named Jeanie sees an old high school friend named Kirsten. After they reunite, Jeanie tries to persuade her buddy to reconsider any thoughts she may have on abortion, but Kirsten refuses her offer since she “couldn’t understand what happened to her”. As such, she ultimately takes her leave.
Afterwards, Jeanie meets up with her husband and feels like she could have completely gotten to her friend. He tells her that maybe if they find out where Kirsten lives, then they can have another try.
We then cut to five days later as Jeanie and her husband have managed to find out where Kirsten lives. With the night sky high above, our couple proceed to enter the apartment building with surprising ease.
After reaching the appropriate apartment number, Jeanie knocks on the door. Despite being told to go away, she starts to head inside. She’s then shocked to discover a pregnant Kirsten surrounded by drugs and alcohol while also carrying a revolver.
She tells Jeanie and her husband that she was the one who was on a jungle quest in order to work on her graduate thesis when some terrible beast came out. Not only did it attack her, but it also raped her. She now carries the demonic creature’s baby inside her womb. Kirsten has tried to aim the gun at her stomach and shoot it, but is compelled from within to resist. Instead, she takes her own life by firing the gun inside her mouth.
As if seeing the horrific death wasn’t bad enough for Jeanie and her husband, Kirsten’s womb bursts out in a bloodied mess. As such, the horrific creature is born into our world.
And so, the story ends with a narration telling us that this newborn beast proceeded to viciously mutilate Jeanie and her husband before it ultimately broke out of the apartment and run out into the night to do the exact same vile act as its parent.
Overall, this feels like a good one-two punch to close out the series. Issue 5 is very brutal and gory, yet it was thrilling seeing a geeky friend in Shelly coming up with a crazy way to take out one of the Lake Erie Monsters. It felt like a satisfying conclusion with good pacing, thrilling moments and an ending that’s filled with karma and gratifying to boot. Both episodes of Commodore’s Cleveland continue to bring an urban legend feel to the tortured nature of the Forest City. Whether their true or not, this particular series is just wondrous to the imagination. As for the Summer Special, it mainly serves as a stand-alone story. It seems somewhat reminiscent of Rosemary’s Baby in that a woman has been cursed with a demonic fetus and the actual character’s stand on abortion actually fits really well for this tale. It’s more a quickie tale and would have served as a backup story for any of the issues, even issue 5 since it didn’t have one, but it’s interesting unto itself. The main colors serve it well with yellow for the daytime, blue for night and red for the uneasy nature of our situation. Overall, Shiner Comics Group has put together an enjoyable mini-series and it’s most worthy of being revisited on Halloween. The content is most definitely mature, but never gets offensive in the slightest. Well, it’s been fun checking out a humble series from Cleveland. May your Halloween be filled with soaring spirits, skillful scares and succulent snacks. Until next time, see you around the C-Cubed!