I’m just filling in for Adam this month for the review on this series, but damn did I get a good issue to fill in on. I was actually behind on this series so I had the pleasure of reading all three issues back-to-back. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this issue I almost wished that I had waited because it’s going to be a long month until that last issue. If you were wondering what all the hub-bub about this series was, let me tell you through
the art of interpretive dance this review.
Our yet un-named hero Brutal Juice aka “Ruben” is going through the twelve-step program. His sponsor is a crazy ass Doctor Strange esque dude by the name of Doctor Blaqk. Our story picks up with “Ruben” as he’s apologizing to his former team-mates and admitting that he’s an addict. He finishes and Discharge raises his hand for a question. After a humorous interaction about why he’s not calling him Discharge; “Ruben” attempts to sit down in what was once his chair, but High Guard tells him he’s not allowed. An exchange of heated words erupts between the two men and results in High Guard slamming “Ruben” up against their space station glass. He tells him under his breath that he’s a coward just like his father. Hello red flag that raised, this is the first we’re hearing about “Ruben’s” dad. “Ruben’s” next trip is to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment to apologize, but he’s not happy about it. Here we learn “Ruben’s” real name and well… a lot is revealed or in my case my suspicions were confirmed.
To talk about over half of this issue would spoil so much of it for you, but it’s one of those issues you want to talk about with someone from beginning to end. Aside from the overall plot and concept being very good, there’s the humor. You’ll win me over quickly if you’re book can make me laugh and this book gave me more than one RFOL. When “Ruben’s” ex calls Doctor Blaqk “the bad guy from Aladdin” I let out the biggest snort. This story is funny in the way that life is just funny. The character interactions are very real and believable and that’s where the humor comes from. Otherwise this is a very human story. Sure it has a superhero element to it, but at its core it’s still a story about addiction and the sins of the father passed onto the son. I don’t think I’ll be laughing nearly as much with the last issue, but I’m okay with that because I think the character moments will be incredible.
The art is extremely stylized. Geoff Shaw doesn’t attempt to deliver a basic superhero style. It has elements, but he owns this genre. The close-ups on the character faces were probably one of my favorite things. The extra lines don’t feel extra, but rather Shaw’s way of shadowing without blackening the page needlessly. Each one of those lines were chosen and placed with purpose which highlights Shaw’s skills. His style was an absolute treat to discover for the first time and won me over as a fan.
I’ll be upfront when I say that usually when a story has anything to do with drinking or drugs I tune out quickly. There are very few stories about addiction that I find interesting since they only end one of two ways. This story surprised me and kept my attention while still making me care about “Ruben’s” addiction problems. I mean would you break your drinking or drug habit if it gave you super powers?
Writer: Donny Cates Artist: Geoff Shaw Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/20/13