by Courtney Huddleston, Eli Williams
(Penny-Farthing, 2000)

The best stories begin with a clever idea, and Courtney Huddleston had a good one when he conceived the backstory for Decoy.

The Metas are -- despite their marketably cute, pudgy demeanor -- a fierce and barbaric race of shapeshifting aliens. The Kranch, although monstrous to look at, are peace-loving and gentle -- and are the Metas favorite prey. The war -- or, more appropriately, the hunt -- between these alien races has sprawled across the universe in an ever-widening circle of violence.

But Decoy isn't about that. It's about the one who got left behind.

A Meta mission to Earth to capture/kill a fleeing Kranch is successful, but one of their number, an immature green, balks at the unnecessary violence and is abandoned by his allies. Enter Bobby Luck, an inexperienced but cocky cop whose foolhardy attempts at glory should get him killed -- and would, frequently, but for the intervention of the small, green alien. Now bonded, the police officer and the shapeshifter become a force to be reckoned with on the squad -- only because Luck keeps surviving the certain-death situations he finds himself in. But the warlike Metas might have more planned for Earth after all....

Decoy collects the initial run of the series from 1999 and it's packed with clever writing (and subtle jabs at comics-world icons including Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, the Hulk and, surprisingly, Star Trek).

Huddleston's art has a loose-limbed style that makes characters look vaguely uncomfortable in their own skin, and writer Eli Williams sometimes pens awkward dialogue. But the story is fun, with barrels of potential for growth. I'll be happy to see where Decoy takes us.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 12 July 2003

Buy it from