By James Asmus, Fred Van Lente & Kano
The Delinquents brings together two fantastic books under one umbrella, namely Archer & Armstrong and Quantum and Woody—which has been nominated for more than a few Harvey Awards. On paper, this is a match made by the comic book gods as both series are known for having a different tone than some of Valiant’s more serious books and in a world where most things seem to be going down the “grimdark” road, these books are more than refreshing. This book is really no different and all you need is one example to prove the above statement is correct: the premise of this first issue is that Armstrong is given an ass map to the legendary treasure of the hobos. Not a word of a lie; this is literally a map drawn/tattooed onto somebody’s ass that then had the skin of said ass removed and now it’s being carried around and guarded as a sacred map to treasure. Yes, really.
While the story is crafted by James Asmus and Fred Van Lente, Asmus gets the writing credit and he really takes the baton, so to speak, and runs with it. Asmus, who writes the fantastic Quantum and Woody book, packs this first issue with everything a reader who might not be familiar with his book or Van Lente’s Archer and Armstrong would ever need and while some might find it overly “wordy”, the flow was smooth and the pace was fast. Line that up with a few great jokes and it’s safe to say that this issue was a winner.
The only person you might feel sorry for is artist Kano, simply because Asmus not only packs in the writing but he also manages some pretty complex pages for Kano to navigate. 16-Panel pages, pages where the flow moves from right to left and back again and, of course, he had to draw skin from somebody’s ass that has a map on it. Even with this daunting task ahead of him, Kano manages to pull it off beautifully and really helps to make this book something special. There’s so much information in this first issue, as mentioned, but as a reader you’ll find yourself not only reading it all but scanning through Kano’s work to see all the little bits he’s added in.
The wait for the second issue is going to be excruciating, considering just how advance of a review this really is, but Asmus, Van Lente and Kano have a re-read worthy first issue here while you wait for the follow up issue after this drops August 20th. In anticipation for this series, you most certainly need to check out these guys in their own respective books. This team, and the teams on the other books, consistently prove why Valiant is gaining ground on other publishers. They have a great line up, great creators and great characters. This book in particular is such a ray of light in a rather dark and dreary comic industry that it demands your attention. Don’t pass this one up in August.