This was one of the brand new books I allowed myself to purchase the last time I was in the comic store. Everything about it looked like it could be entertaining and again it seemed like something different and at the very least a nice mixup. I did read the description of this one and thought why not. I. Also read that the writer was the same guy who wrote Luther Strode and the artist drew Black Science, so that was a selling factor as well.
Justin Jordan is one of the bright new talents in the comic industry. He wrote and co-created one of my favorites The Strange Talent of Luther Strode and is also well known for his run on Green Lantern as well as a hand full of other titles for DC. He has also created a few series for Image comics and Boom Studios. This is only the second book of his that I have read but I am sure it will not be the last.
The story is about a cop, Gage, whose wife is also a cop, Annie, at a local bank. There is a planned robbery and she is killed in the line of duty. The heist was pulled of by a group of gangsters. After the robbery one of their own adissapears with the money and is now on the run. In doing so he endangers his girlfriend, Rachael, who is now being hunted down by the gangsters, and they want some answers. Gage is out for revenge on whoever killed his wife and will stop at nothing to make them pay. The pair is an unlikely duo and team up for extreme opposite reasons. Can Gage accomplish his mission, killing his wife’s murderer and keep his new ally alive.
I will say that I like the writer who wrote this story and the other stories and the other two of his that I have read. With that being said I felt this one was a miss, at least in my opinion. As you know I do not like bashing other people’s work just for the sake of doing so, but if I could sum this one up in one word it would be cliché, two words, very cliché.
Everything about this story is cliché, from the story itself to the characters. You have the cop who is a hard badass, the evil henchmen mastermind, the droves of endless bad guys who all get killed in various gruesome ways, the innocent girl who gets involved and the good guy is trying to protect her, everything about this one is just way overdone. There is very little originality in any aspect from this one, which is quite surprising when the other stories the writer has created are truly one of a kind. Perhaps the writer had an off day, but no matter the story was just too similar to so many other stories and so many movies I have seen. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind reading recycled ideas, but at least put a different twist on them. Jordan failed to do even that. The only little bit of originality, and the piece that I wish was developed more, was the back story of the main character Gage. I felt this should have been explored more and would have added something new and different to this story but o well.
Despite the story being cliché, it was entertaining, but I think that was mostly due to the fact that this one was wildly violent. I didn’t have a problem with that as it was the nature of the story and it was expected. Which again knowing Jordan especially from Luther Strode I would not have expected anything different. Honestly I really don’t have a ton to say about this story. Everything about it is simple and just already overdone to the umpteen time.
As I already mentioned I did like the over-the-top violence in this one. And despite the goriness of the book that artwork did help to tone it down a little, more on that in a second. There are tons of shoot ‘em up scenes and blood splatters along the way that will keep you interested while the story becomes predictable beyond belief.
The artwork in this one is highly stylized and near cartoony. Not in the Looney Toon sense, but still looks like a style you would see on your Saturday morning cartoons. I did not mind it to an extent as I think the style helped tone down the violence to a degree. As a reader I tend to take things less serious as the artwork becomes more and more stylized, that is the case with the artwork in the this story. It is serious all the way through but the style does, at least to me, provide another degree of separation from the reader and the story. If it had been drawn in a more traditional style it seems more real for obvious reasons. The colors are very dark and at times I felt it was hard to make out what was going on in a particular scene. There are a lot of dark outlines and black shading that really darkens the colors that are not overly bright to begin with. The page layouts and scene selections are above average. There were some cool pages that had some very different layouts that made for a neat read. However it was a little confusing to try and find the next scene at times, but the overall effect was worth the struggle. The artist in this one is the same artist that drew Black Science, as I mentioned above. Surprisingly the styles are not that similar. At times you can kind of see that they are the same from book to book, but for the most part they are different. The style here is less refined, where in Black Science it was much cleaner and more precise, a sharper overall scene. I also think the color pallet here was much darker as I already mentioned.
At the end of the day I can appreciate the other great works Justin has produced, but I cannot jump on board with this one. It was not unique enough in any sense of the word and a far cry from the quality that he can and has produced in the past. I was expecting more, but that is the thing with expectations, sometimes they let you down. It is safe to say that this was by no means his best effort. The story is average at best but the fact that this exact same story has been done over and over again, that is the reason that I cannot recommend this one. I see no need to spend the money to check this one out, there are better stories out there to spend your time and money on. For what it is worth Amazon reviewers gave this one four stars, so take that however you like.