SPAWN #290 Review: let horror reign. Let horror reign in Al’s hell on earth, because his plan that further unfolds in SPAWN #290 is both frightening and effective.
For Eager SPAWN Readers, there are SPOILERS in this article.
SPAWN #290 – Let Horror Reign
Spawn’s ruthless vendetta grows in exciting, unnerving and downright fright-filled ways.
From the start of the six-part ‘Dark Horror Arc’, Jason Shawn Alexander and Todd McFarlane broke new ghastly ground for the character and world of Spawn, whose hell-ish origins were already quite grim and mysterious.
As time has unfolded from those issues to SPAWN #290, the plot grows more intense, more secretive and more expansive.
For once, Al is not being used as a pawn, or being manipulated for another’s gain, whether in heaven, hell, or earth itself.
The hellspawn that is Al Simmons is something more, something no one is quite sure of yet.
What is becoming clearer by the issue, is that the story hinges on Spawn whose rage has pushed him way over the edge, so that anyone who is in some way corrupt and useful to Al need fear for themselves and their families’ sakes.
When Spawn allows The Freak to go and leverage for bank codes with a man’s wife’s engagement ring hidden in the mouth of a doll made out of a human skull, sticks, and a yellow dress with daisies on it, the reader shudders at the site.
It means that Spawn is now unhinged, uninhibited, and eerily calculating.
And make no mistake: the images from Jason Shawn Alexander are visceral.
His art absolutely amazes.
He creatively draws on sound, so that vibrations, the pluck of a tooth from a skull, saws splitting brains open, and the “SNAP” of a telephone pole add realistic dimensions to the pages.
And the expressions, glowing eyes, and even the body language of an enraged Spawn Costume stretched out to greet an old rival in the Violator-Clown add a sense of weight, movement, and grisly detail.
The realism and surrealism balance each other so well that many of the scenes are nightmarish in all the right ways.
In this book, Lee Loughridge is also brilliant, as his colors add bold brightness around the bleak shadows giving focus to the emotions in the story.
And lest we forget, the practically glowing cover by Francesco Mattina is fantastic.
I am a big fan of good writing and great story that reaches for extraordinary heights, and that is what we have here.
The script/plot of Todd McFarlane is as sharp as a battle-ready sword edge.
For now that his ex-wife Wanda has died and Cyan has been exposed as having powers to mirror Al Simmons’, Spawn moves to publicly call out all of the hidden angels and demons trapped on earth to get at them.
He cannot take them all on alone, but he has grown powerful enough to recruit a slew of his oldest, fiercest enemies including Overt-Kill, Cy-gor, the Curse, and The Freak to do his bidding!
Al even refers to this team of horror as “[his] pets”.
The team’s distraction gives Spawn access to the computer terminals that can reveal all of the players in the conspiracy against mankind.
Turn the corner.
When faced with Clown at the issue’s close, Al points out that his face paint markings have changed prompting an apparent power-sucking blow.
But as Spawn is struck and then bloodily stabbed with a sign post, and seemingly drained of his powers, Violator’s teeth come to the surface of his chubby mouth.
The Violator is lurking beneath.
Later on, the Costume removes the metal from the wound and Al’s life returns with a flicker of green in his eye, and he says: “Excellent. He took the bait.”
All the while, the world’s financial markets have just crashed and bedlam surely awaits.
The build-up to SPAWN #300 is just incredible!
Grab a copy of SPAWN #290 from your LCS while you can, folks [Red Shirt Comics had me covered].
“SPAWN #290 Review: Let Horror Reign” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons & Dragons #2 DAMAGED: 8D6 combines two of the most fun endeavors for the geek counterculture that has shaken the fringes of the mainstream but is still – BURP – not quite there…or is it?
By that I mean TV’s Rick and Morty, the infamous sci-fi dynamic duo, and the role-playing game of yore, Dungeons & Dragons.
The comic book series for Rick & Morty is a perfect add-on for the show: each comic is like a raucous new episode set in a Rick and Morty continuity.
Jerry is still separated from Beth, for instance.
And Beth sees a Kobold that looks “a little like Jerry” and proceeds to go all Warrior on its ass with a soon-to-be-bloodied battle hammer!
The Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons & Dragons mini-series is truly extraordinary in that it seamlessly combines the two vastly infinite worlds of the show and game.
The attention to detail here, from the belching Rick, to the way in which Grandpa shows his horny grandson trying to learn the game to start out in Third Edition is dead-on and hilarious.
Expeditions lead to many monsters and missions and many treasures and lessons.
All is going swimmingly when Morty, who wants to be a rogue, despite Summer choosing this, is forced to be the Cleric, the party’s Healer, because as Rick says, ”no double dipping on classes, Morty. It’s a dick move.”
And then the Challenge Ratings go up from 2 to 4 to 5.
The XP Gained goes as follows:
2000, 4000, and then as Morty unlocks a chest without asking if there are traps: “Damaged: 8D6” with a “Reflex save for half damage.”
He, Beth and Summer are on fire while Rick is laughing his ass off in the background after they learned their lesson.
Summer, I mean, Winterblade, even gets a great “SNEAK ATTACK” in!
The first issue in the Rick And Morty Vs Dungeons & Dragons series talked about all of the starting rules, in detail, and had a fun set of adventures, virtual and otherwise, in it.
COVER #2 reveals secret Comic-Spy world’s long history, and it is far more extensive and intense than you would expect.
Two issues in, the Jinxworld series COVER, created by David Mack and Brian Michael Bendis, is an absolute gem.
Simply put: COVER #2 is a smart web of a spy thriller!
Max Field could not possibly imagine that his life as a successful comic creator would make for the perfect cover, as the CIA and US intelligence community seek to monitor some very chaotic areas of the world in an extraordinary manner: with a paintbrush rather than a gun . . . at least for now.
Max’s CIA recruiter, Julia, is a big fan of the art form and seems to exude a coy attraction for the creator of Ninja Spy Odyssey.
But she is also an extremely intelligent agent with great wherewithal for societies and, in particular, for managing people.
The writing and story pick up at a great pace.
And COVER’s riveting narrative is told with a menagerie of art styles that feed into and off of each other powerfully.
If you are familiar with David Mack’s work, you know that his unique vision features all manner of mediums in a way that is all his own, and for COVER he dares to tread further and further into new territory.
The colors by Zu Orzu are impactful and essential to the plot as it is revealed on the pages.
Mack and writer Brian Bendis’ words are realistic, tight and effective, and the letters from Carlos M. Mangual provide punch to the right annunciations making for a life-like experience.
The stakes are monumental in COVER #2 . . . right out of the gate.
The art spurred by emotion goes from heavily inked sections emitting fierce emotion and brilliant themes of color that shift to vivid watercolor reminiscing.
Max even seems to lose detail on the page when he is confused and indecisive.
The following look at COVER #2 will have *SPOILERS*
To start, the issue features an all black panel and one ominous line: “Do you think you were the first?”
An impassive face talks of “Nazi hunters, magicians”, and people who he is grouping in with Max as being missing for over forty years.
And out of the blackness there is Max tied to a chair making quips at the interrogator who is a fellow creator that he recognizes, named Essad Sinns.
How did Max go from dinner with Julie the fan and CIA recruiter to being beaten and threatened by a fellow creator turned intelligence op?
That is a question that will need to be explored as the series progresses.
We do seem to get Max squirming in the face of a large knife and spilling his recent history with Julia at the Istanbul comic convention where he is cooperative in gifting Julia’s bugged Limited-Edition Ninja Sword Odyssey pendant to the President of Turkey.
Max’s character was at first reluctant to even stand next to Julia as she surprised him at the airport, incognito.
And his trepidation and symbolic feeling of being lost and unsure of his role in the world is reflected in the pages of his comic book that he creates and are featured via an artist’s silhouette and then stark water color panels telling the tale of the ninja’s son.
As Max has issues with his own father that could be considered hairy and unsettled, the father-son pairing in Max’s comic have a reflective, though far different message.
The son’s teacher was his father.
The father’s teacher left him a tsuba without a sword, and it was this teacher who taught the father how to survive.
One day the father promises he will give his son the sword to fill it.
And he instructs on the new world: the days of the samurai are being replaced with a “new kind of war. Of secrecy and information. Of subtlety.” and the ninja conducts their battles “in between the lines.” [COVER #2]
The making of a sword and the making of a person fulfilling a vital role in the world come across poignantly.
COVER #2’s coming of age sword sequence is marvelous.
When Max starts to get actively involved and inquisitive, the vague visuals from the start of the book become more vivid with bright watercolors and detailed looks at Julia who he is trying to measure up.
She has built quite a relationship with Max, and slips from her diplomatic mask to get personal and rant about the importance of books being lost in today’s world.
The words and art closing COVER #2 have a meaningful message and are incredibly moving.
Rarely does art and writing and storytelling get across such a powerful message in so short a space and do it so personally and beautifully.
Emanating some of Ray Bradbury from Fahrenheit 451, and much more, Julia reveals herself to be the only reader she knows and is even looked down upon for it.
Ignorance in the world, she states, can be solved through the sharing of story.
It is touching and remarkable.
And then Max is back to the present, and gray tones, and is being beaten to a pulp.
COVER #2 is an amazing piece of standalone art.
It is inspiring.
Get this book, in both incredible covers, A by David Mack and B by Bill Sienkiewicz, at your local comic store (Red Shirt anyone) STAT!
When does Issue #3 come out?
“COVER #2 Reveals Secret Comic-Spy World’s Long History” was written byR.J. Huneke.
Return of Wolverine #1: forgotten man bloodied by conspiracy, as he awakes, no longer dead, in a lab not unlike the one where Weapon X was born.
Is the return of Wolverine the birth of another type of Weapon X?
The following review of Return of Wolverine #1 contains SPOILERS for the first few pages***
Return of Wolverine 1 by Writer Charles Soule and penciler Steve McNiven, inker Jay Leisten, and colorist Laura Martin
He awakes crouched in a pool of blood, his side torn open, and his claws are glowing orange, as if heated up.
Wolverine falls with his hands down in the puddle and when he stands his claws are no longer glowing but his hands are covered in crimson.
He dons his traditional blue and yellow costume, though it is torn to shreds.
Mystery looms large for the battered Wolverine
And the best part of the Return of Wolverine #1: he has no memory of who he is . . . or where he is.
The mutant that has lived a couple of lifetimes and survived a radical weaponizing process to adhere adamantium to his skeleton, and the Weapon X process as well as his long life have often messed with his memories.
Partial amnesia has often been a part of Wolverine.
As has drinking, blackouts, and a regular cigar.
But now, in Return of Wolverine #1 we have something else entirely.
What that is yet we do not know.
There is a conspiracy afoot in the mysterious coastal base and lab, whose people are being experimented on. They know who Wolverine is . . . but he does not know who he is.
Although writer Charles Soule hinted that more of the plot will thicken in issue Return of Wolverine #2 and answer some of the questions surrounding our short, disgruntled X-man, Logan.
And that is the only commentary or description for the story on Marvel’s own site.
You have to love a good mystery, especially when it involves a years long absence from the Marvel Comic Book Universe (Old Man Logan aside).
And Wolverine died. He lost his healing abilities and died.
Now Wolverine is healing again . . . but something is off about it (read the book to find out what).
But here he is again and he appears to be perplexed, angry, confused, vulnerable, and determined in all the right ways.
Soule and penciler Steve McNiven, inker Jay Leisten, colorist Laura Martin have crafted a fantastic and impactful return of Wolverine.
A cool homage to Wolverine’s past personas is seen in the book, but will not be spoiled here, and on the variant covers from McNiven, Leisten, and Martin where one can get a favorite depiction of their anti-hero.
I had to grab a copy of the Weapon X; I love that storyline.
Get yours from your LCS – Red Shirt Comics got me – before your cover is gone forever!
“Return of Wolverine #1: Forgotten Man Bloodied By Conspiracy” was written by R.J. Huneke.
BATMAN DAMNED 1: bloody good mystery launches DC Black Label in a vivid horror-noir style spawned from writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo.
Who killed the ghastly corpse that is retrieved and found to be the Joker?
Who mortally wounded Batman? And why can’t he remember what happened?
BATMAN DAMNED 1: there is a buzz with this book!
The art by Bermejo is masterful in the bleak view of Gotham and the Dark Knight and the hyper-action sequences that flow and dance off the page, like a great swordfight.
The world, from gambling on dark street corners to bashing medical staff for an escape route, is very much alive.
And just look at Bermejo’s BATMAN DAMNED 1 cover!
I thought Jim Lee and Alex Sinclair’s pentagram-backed caped crusader, and a lot of emphasis on a particularly badass-looking cape, was stunning (and it is).
But then I saw the steam coming off of the battered cowl in Bermejo’s Batman, and I realized the lunatic-like bloody expression beneath that cowl was worn and scraped, and either grimacing or . . . smiling!
Was Batman smiling like the Joker?
The depiction of a militarized Batman by Bermejo is iconic.
The Rambo-like Bat Belt and its dangling straps with rings for hooking weapons and tech to the beaten leather-like material and the many buckles on the worn army boots give a fierce edge to the amnesiac Batman.
And the talented scribe Azzarello crafts an ingenious and twisted tale of mystery, horror, and Bat-lore that shoots from page to page, impact to impact, whether it is physical blows, or mental, or emotional ones.
His Batman has to deal with a supernatural influence, a hole in his memory, and the detective case of a lifetime.
But there are also the wrinkles and the deeply hidden crevices in the world where metaphors for Satanism and Christianity, for the Gothic towering over Gotham and the strange creatures crouching in Bruce Wayne’s past and present shadows.
The DC Black Label launch title BATMAN DAMNED 1 is incredibly enticing for the adult comic book reader with a dark side.
The oversized format is incredible to behold in and of itself.
BATMAN DAMNED 1 is ad free and chock full of gorgeously detailed and gritty oversized pages.
This book should not be approached by the faint of heart or the Puritanical among us.
Get yours from your LCS – Red Shirt Comics got me – before they are gone forever!
“BATMAN DAMNED 1: Bloody Good Mystery Launches DC Black Label” was written by R.J. Huneke
Catwoman #3: chaos, curves & puurrfect cliffhanger makes for an incredible tale from artist and writer Joëlle Jones and her team.
Catwoman #3 Has It All: Mystery, Epic Fights, A+ Style, Twists
Let’s discuss the 30-pound cat in the room (yes, my kitty, Cosmo is a big-boned boy):
The variant covers by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau have been nothing short of amazing for the entire run so far, but Catwoman #3, I mean . . . WOW!
There are few words that can describe the powerful, scintillating, and, just, stunning depiction Selina Kyle in the Joëlle Jones-designed dress that Stanley “Artgerm” Lau paints.
There is no superhero costume in view and none needed.
See for yourself.
The Catwoman #3 variant cover
Now onto the book!
If you have not read Catwoman #1 or #2 or Batman #49 or #50 there is a mild Spoiler in the following paragraph, but otherwise we are operating SPOILER-FREE today.
Coming off a heart-wrenching abandoned wedding, Selina Kyle abandons Gotham for San Francisco where a new villain’s plotted narrative grabs a hold of the opportunity to frame Catwoman for murder and subdue her to her will. And Selina finds herself in a warehouse full of Catwoman costumes and many ready to fight.
The story is growing in intensity as the still grieving Selina attempts to heal in a city gunning for her.
The writing overall, from the character arcs, the new villain, to the dialogue, to the many wrinkles, twists, and turns of the plot, is extraordinary.
Catwoman #3 further proves Joëlle Jones has so much more to add to the Catwoman mythos and we can only sit riveted waiting for more.
And that puppeteer-villain is grotesque in every way imaginable.
Cover #1, from powerhouse creators Bendis and Mack, is ingenuity and incredulity at its best!
Blast off into a whole new territory of comic book creation complete with comic artist humor, scintillating spies /slash/ love interests, and a much more creative CIA recruitment process than this writer previously suspected possible.
Cover #1 is fresh and page-turningly addictive
The art, from character building that is good enough to feel their very bones, to the sharp dialogue, to the insanely surreal artwork that echoes feeling, suspense and often transcends panels, is fresh and page-turningly addictive.
Cover #1 from Jinxworld by writer Brian Bendis, artist David Mack and colorist Zu Orzu truly captures the imagination of James Bond fans, artists, and comic con fans alike.
Both covers are so rad!
Both covers of issue #1, by David Mack and the variant by Zu Orzu, have readers floored.
Each encompasses the main characters Max and Julia in stark silhouettes filled with words.
These point to secrecy in the CIA and a nearly subliminal and powerful new dynamic between the recruiter and artist.
The colors in the book itself (and on the covers) by Zu Orzu bring amazing tones where pieces of color and story significance jump out at the reader.
And the father-son samurai flashbacks are absolutely gorgeous.
The father-son dynamic for Max is something that must be of extra importance to the character and must be further explored in the series.
The premise is fairly simple at the onset: a talented comic book creator, Max, who travels a lot to showcase his craft meets a fan of his, Julia, who purchases some of his original artwork and coyly states that she follows him online.
It is likely not a chance encounter.
We will not spoil anything.
But comic book creators can make for the perfect cover as operatives in an ever-volatile world where intelligence and counter-intelligence operatives tread dangerously.
Artist David Mack has worked with the US Embassy to volunteer his art and mentoring to help youths across the globe after all.
He certainly has insight and perspective and has been collaborating with writer Brian Michael Bendis to birth Cover for years now.
Cover #1 is the launch of another creator-owned gem from Jinxworld
Cover #1 is the launch of another creator-owned gem from Jinxworld and with an award-winning team like Bendis and Mack at the top of their games, not to mention artist Zu Orzu’s accentuating colors, readers are hungry for Cover #2!
Jessica Jones creators Bendis + Gaydos’ Pearl intrigues readers, as the duo’s newest heroine brings grit and a steady hand to the tattoo parlor and the Yakuza gang wars surrounding San Francisco.
Pearl #1 introduces us to the young woman, her Iriguci spider tattoo, and her very capable gunshot.
The vivid and poignant illustrations form a neo-noir San Francisco befitting of Pearl, and the motorcycle scenes storm across the pages blisteringly.
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos once created a new character in Jessica Jones (in the pages of ALIAS), the brash female P.I. with super strength and super alcohol tolerance.
And their newest unwilling participant in a ruptured feud is another fictional personage one cannot get enough of.
Pearl is wary, sexy, and her instincts are sharp!
The dialogue, timely placed motorcycle VRROOMMM’s (and other cutting sound effects) and a storyline of mysterious relationships, both new and old, that envelop Pearl’s life make for writing that utterly absorbs the reader.
Pearl #1 introduces us to a world of effervescent color and feeling.
Pearl is a young tattoo artist tied to the city’s age-old feud by some act from her past.
Her night out with a girlfriend leads to a young man, named Rick, who notices a rare and revered tattoo artist’s work on her wrist.
He promises he is not hitting on her, but he too is a tattoo artist and a connoisseur drinking in her Iriguci spider, comparing it to the Mona Lisa.
And so, egged on by her friend, Pearl engages with Rick and his friends up until the second that he shows off his own work, a piece of a Yakuza tattoo on his buddy’s back.
Pearl tries to walk away.
But the bikes are already gunning through the air, the bullets flying.
She takes a shot to the arm, but fires her own semi-automatic handgun and the aim is true, killing gang members and saving Rick’s life.
The act holds consequences.
She is further tied to another gangster, Mr. Miike, a tattoo artist bearing his own Yakuza portraits.
Her steady hand is to be used to do more than needle ink.
Pearl is more useful, valuable, to him now.
Can she murder the man she just saved outright?
Can Pearl kill Rick when she finds him in her place and he is flirting, offering what seems to be thank you sex for her saving his life?
The tattoo artist Pearl has a history, a conflicted present, and a dangerous future.
The Pearl creator-owned series is off to a brilliant start!
ACES WEEKLY Comic Art Magazine sparks digital revolution with its riveting comic book and graphic novel short stories delivered every Monday!
For £1 per week, in any currency, readers get volumes of up to 150 pages in seven weekly parts.
ACES WEEKLY is the seven-card stud of e-comics!
To paraphrase David Lloyd, the idea for the award-winning ACES WEEKLY came down to comics looking better [than paper] with fewer limitations [and myriad possibilities].
In the very first volume of ACES WEEKLY, the gem Valley Of Shadows takes a black and white noir tale down new twisting alleys hereto untraveled.
More on Valley Of Shadows [Plot by David Jackson and David Lloyd, and the Script and Art by David Lloyd] later after we examine the cards, I mean the ACES.
When David Lloyd, co-creator of V For Vendetta and author/artist of Kickback (and a whole lot more), first launched ACES WEEKLY, very few comic books were available in a digital format.
Those that did come in a digital form required the paying of an extra dollar to the paper version, making a $3.99 book $4.99 in your LCS for the same 21 pages of content.
Now e-comics are in the mainstream, but none have the formula of six different works delivered every Monday night in an innovative set of seven serial installments.
At a buck a week, and adding that up, seven pounds for seven weeks of stories, you get 21+ pages for each of the six titles.
That is up to 150 pages, or six or seven comic books, for less than the price of two paper comic books!
Value aside, the proof is in the product, and ACES WEEKLY’s continuous stream of e-comic books are incredible.
The art is mostly in traditional comic form and looks STUNNING on screen!
Just like the serial installments of Superman of old, in the newspaper funny pages, the ACES WEEKLY tales are mostly told on horizontal pages.
The books are, after all, only bound virtually, in Cyberspace.
There is no limitation of the reader having to hold a vertically stapled comic book.
This means that you can read in a more natural line of sight akin to watching a movie on a widescreen, in the theater or at home.
ACES WEEKLY combines different widely appealing genres masterfully.
An omnivorous reader, like myself, loves the funny, the dark, the thrilling, and the wildly creative varying in voices from one comic book to the next.
ACES WEEKLY delivers a smorgasbord of quality each and every week!
Examples of this diversity are evident in the noir classic Valley Of Shadows by David Jackson and David Lloyd, the epic Santa Claus VS the Nazis by Benjamin Dickson and Gavin Mitchell where Santa Claus becomes a prisoner of the Nazis and the elves are enslaved, and then . . . on a planet in the middle of the Andromeda System . . . there is the powerful science-fiction book Dark Utopia by Mark Montague.
You could not ask for a better hand being dealt.
Think about it: Santa must break free of the Nazis to save the elves! What bigger stakes are there?
The art is unique, the writing top-notch, and the creations are made to pop out at you from the screen, no matter where you wish to enjoy the tales.
Each week you look forward to the latest installment of scintillating reading.
And in Volume One, Valley Of Shadows is one hell of a gripping whopper to kick off the experience.
Buddy Chaplin hasn’t got much going for him.
His marriage has failed, he’s in a dead end job, and he’s stopped looking for more.
But life is about to take an unexpected twist….
The art from David Lloyd is full of shadows, emotions, long blacks and stark whites.
The vivid scenes could easily make the silver screen.
The innovative use of comic book panels and art surrounding and behind the panels makes full use of the reader’s eye and the horizontal page layout for incredulity at every turn of the e-page.
The story, dialogue and plot of Valley Of Shadows are intricate, tight, and unique.
Security guard Buddy is dragged into helping someone, committing murder (in defense!), and racing against malicious and resourceful forces to save a stranger’s little girl from a horrible fate.
The villain is a megalomaniac bent on destroying a valley if that is what he needs to do to get an organ donor for his dying son.
And Buddy is just a normal guy who gambles too much, lost his own little girl and wife in a divorce, and gets caught up in a fight he should not be able to win.
The tale is utterly brilliant and it only scratches the surface of all of the ACES WEEKLY offerings.
The art is amazing, the creators on board ACES WEEKLY are extraordinary, like David himself.
For the cost of less than two paper books a reader can feast on six full length high resolution comics formatted and built for any type of screen, from a Smart TV, to a tablet, or a smartphone.
This reader is subscribing for life, and POWkabam will look to cover at least one of the many tales in each volume going forward.
“ACES WEEKLY Comic Art Magazine Sparks Digital Revolution” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Is your Honor Badge made of C-4? Then you have not earned the Black Badge.
Parts of the top-secret Black Badge Boy Scout manual greets the reader through excerpts sprinkled along the inner and back cover pages.
A regular troop member will recognize the Boys Scouts’ manual’s style, but not believe the contents:
“How you received your Black Badge is privileged information. Guard it with your life.
“-Black Badge Handbook”
A diagram of a Boy Scout uniform containing a pocket lined with solidified sarin gas and marking the Black Badge itself noted as a throwing star, in disguise, will give readers an idea of where the covert team’s members might have to go to survive their incredibly dangerous missions.
BLACK BADGE #1 features a teenage troop possibly as deadly and daring as the Navy Seals.
The art style is unique and grasps the emotions of the troop of characters forced to work together on their first mission with a new member, Willy.
Matt Kindt’s writing is superb, the storyline and world building, and dialogue incredibly realistic and full of surprises.
Tyler Jenkins’ art is utterly gorgeous in its innovation and the colors by Hilary Jenkins are amazing in their subtle detections of mood or setting changes.
What goes down when Willy captures every Boy Scouts badge?
His dad seems to know whom to notify of this feat, and Willy is introduced to an Army-type man and told of one more badge . . . the Black Badge!
And Willy is off with his new troop in hopes to earn this badge . . . in South Korea.
And here the writing takes an immediate hold, as a repulsive bully from a school trip begins to make fun of the four Boy Scouts for their traditional Scout garb.
Little does the bully know that behind the Boy Scout sash there are throwing knives.
Kenny is the leader, Mitz is the short in stature tall in arrow use, and Cliff carries a mean walking stick with its own secrets and almost loses his cool while they are taunted by the bully.
Kenny steers him clear and their canoe is off northward.
Willy is a smart, naïve guy in husky pants, and he wonders if the Black Badge troop has lost a fourth member, which he is replacing.
He tells them of his last badge earned a diving test where he had to lose his gear and trust there would be a cave with air, as he was told.
He is loyal and trusting. He earns the badge.
The Black Badge program takes advantage of the intelligence and age and loyalty of its members.
So the troop crosses the border into North Korea.
Willy sleeps unsoundly when he realizes why he is there: they are sent because they are kids. Kids get lost. Kids are harmless. Kids can get in and get away with it.
The troop marks a village where their mission is to extract a nuclear scientist.
Kenny directs the team: Cliff marks the hut with his electronic laser, and Willy calls in the coordinates.
But then a plane sheds its bomb and an explosion evaporates the village.
As the kids are approached on their exit, they are recognized as frightened Boy Scouts and sent back to South Korea.
Willy questions whether or not they are doing the right thing, but their leader Kenny informs him that “they” tell the troop just enough to go on and the troop has to trust “them.”
The dialogue is freaking kick-ass:
Kenny: “Nobody can do what we can do. No one can go where we can go. This world needs fixing and it sure as heck ain’t the adults who are gonna fix it.”
This is a powerful book!
A big thank you to my LCS Red Shirt Comics owner Josh for his Captain’s Pick of BLACK BADGE #1 – if it was not for him I would have missed out on this sure to be amazing new series.
Go get yours before they sell out!
“BLACK BADGE #1: Boy Scouts Black Ops BOOM!” was written by R.J. Huneke.