By Jonathan Ross, Ian Churchill & Arif Prianto
The title of this new series is quite appropriate; the whole book was largely focused on brutal revenge. However, the actual feeling from reading this first installment was fairly ambivalent. True, there is a lot of potential here, and this is clearly demonstrated at the end of Revenge #1. The opening issue didn’t quite hit the right notes, personally at least, but the series remains intriguing. Confused yet? So was I.
Revenge tells the story of an aging action-film star with a new hit on his hands, the Revenger. Jonathan Ross includes the usual fair for this type of shallow Hollywood tale that revolves around greed and general pettiness. The characters are fairly typical in the early stages, but this works for the particular setting; it just isn’t one that is refreshing or especially intriguing. However, the story diverges into a much more gruesome and sadistic venture while an unlikely character exacts revenge on the protagonist. While a lot of the book just felt rife with shock value and not much else, this turn added quite a bit more to the overall story. The ending of the first installment was the most exciting part though; it appears the protagonist may actually become the film character he plays to strike back at his enemies. This was certainly quite intriguing and future issues could take this series to a new level.
The artwork by Ian Churchill was terrific. While not personally a fan of this type of thing, the visuals are admittedly quite effective. The realism is quite stunning, and the extremely graphic violence will be enough to make some readers’ stomachs turn. There are some very interesting panel layouts as well, which help emphasize the more surreal moments throughout the book. These panels in particular add quite a bit of depth to the overall story where things might otherwise feel bland or cliché. As a whole, Revenge #1 look amazing, and the colors assisted by Arif Prianto are just as powerful as the illustrations themselves. Everything is terrifically organic and lifelike with a ton of attention to detail.
Alright, so personal feelings about this book were a little confused at first. Like the recent TV series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, this first issue felt big on crass behavior and shock value, but short on depth and story. However, as things progress, it gradually becomes apparent that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes of this initial setup. It seems as though there are two sides to this series, and we’ve just gotten a brief glimpse of the heavier side of things. The artwork is amazing and the story did show a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see where this one goes.