Five Weapons is definitely a guilty pleasure read for me. I’ve enjoyed it, but the formula is so transparent that it’s like playing hide-n-seek in an open field. While I didn’t mind it as much with the first two issues I had a hard time not being annoyed by it in this issue. I do appreciate the video game/kung fu movie feel in which the main character moves on to the bigger and badder boss battle, but because it’s painfully obvious while reading it’s almost comes across as uncertainty. Is this what the audience wants? Are they cool with that? We are, but the trick to hiding a formula is the approach. The ridiculous charm of something like Dragon Ball Z was that you never really knew when the actually battle would pop off or how long it would last. You just knew that it was going to be a long ass fight and that was part of the adventure.
As with the second issue we pick up with Tyler aka Fake-Tyler, heading into battle. He refuses to use a weapon for the challenge yet again even though it’s required to knock the opponent out of the circle. Rick begins going at him with his annoying sing-songy dialog while making constant mention of his lack of weaknesses. I won’t spoil what Rick’s weakness is in case you didn’t pick up on it in the last issue, but Tyler wins and the story progresses. Jade and Tyler begin hanging out and a romantic relationship hits the beginning stages. Tyler’s stalker Joon the Loon also begins to have feelings for Tyler, which grow even more as she begins to monitor him on behalf of the Principle.
As Fake-Tyler debates about telling Jade he’s a fake or not he finds her engaged in a conversation with Darryl the Arrow. He’s informing her that due to her class rank she’s the Queen of the annual spring festival. He then sets the stage for the next challenge that Tyler will have to face and that’s winning the King position for the festival and a kiss from Jade.
The dialog is the biggest down fall for this series. Because all of the characters are trying to one up each other in the cocky shit rankings, they tend to talk a lot and say very little. The other problem is that they all come across as the same character. With the exceptions of small speech mannerisms from Joon or Rick, they’re basically the same. Emotionally they’re all full of themselves and trying to be the best. Which does to an extent makes sense given the type of school, but Tyler’s character should be able to make them drop their guard. That’s done with Joon in this issue, but there are plenty of other characters that you’ll have to deal with.
Then there’s the whole, “I don’t need a weapon shtick” which was worn well in the first two issues. I get it already; we don’t need to be reminded by everyone that talks to Tyler. He either doesn’t want to use a weapon because it would decide the future for the real Tyler or more like… his father told him he can’t use weapons because of their lowly butler status. Even though half of the students there have the exact same back story of “my family is poor, I barely made it in.” It’s kind of a dumb school concept if no one can afford to go in my opinion, but it’s fake and I’ve yet to hear anyone mention an accountant at the school.
I don’t have any issues with the art and frankly I’m impressed with the amount of detail Robinson pumps into the panels. Things like bathroom signs, recycling bins and vending machines really build the realisim of the school. That actually helps the world feel a real, when it’s anything but. What honestly impresses me about Robinson’s art is the variety of the hair styles. Some of them are downright iconic like Principal O’s, but otherwise I’ve yet to see a style repeated. Even back ground characters have their own unique look. I know it seems kind of dumb, but if you look at superhero comics a lot of them are barely rocking a hair style from this decade and if it’s an older artist… forget it. For that I applaud this series.
I’m going to stick with this title because frankly it’s almost done so why not. Am I 90% sure of how it’s going to end? Yes, but I hope that there will be something redeeming along the way that will make it worthwhile. I’m not looking forward to the beginning of the next issue since it will have the resolution to this issue making it the same as two and three, but I’m hopeful the rest will add something to the plot as the series winds down. While I can’t stop reading this series I continue to find that I dislike all of the characters and that’s unfortunate since they’re the driving force behind the entire story.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Jimmie Robinson
Publisher: Shadowline and Image Comics
Release Date: 4/24/13