In Review: Patience! Conviction! Revenge #1

This is an entertaining book from AfterShock that has me Wanting! Needing! Desiring! More!

The covers: Two very different frontpieces that give readers solid teases of what this book is all about. The A cover is a wraparound illustration by interior artist and colorist Marco Ferrari with Patrizia Comino. The front of this illustration has protagonist Renny and faithful sidekick Robot Paul watching as robots and humans clash. Neither side looks as one would expect, with some of the bots having cute animal heads and others of diminutive size, while the humans resemble characters one would expect to see in the classic American West, though they have futuristic elements attached to their bodies. The harsh oranges create a sweltering tone to the art and solidify that Western feel. Robert Hack’s B cover is similar to Clint Eastwood’s image from A Fistful of Dollars. Renny has a gun held up as he considers what he’s going to do to someone beyond the reader’s vision. At the top of the cover it states “Cast out of Vegas and into the savage wasteland! Now he’s back for blood!” Covering Renny’s chest is the title of this series and below that are the book’s credits. I like the artwork and the colors are perfect. Either of these covers would be great to have. Overall grade: Both A

The story: Somewhere fifty miles outside of Las Vegas, a ramshackle structure built into some rocks is full of tools and robot parts. Renny is pontificating to his construction Robot Paul about what makes a story worth telling. The creator of the machine tells Paul that stage one of their operation is already in motion. The pair head out into the overwhelming heat where several machines stand ready to accompany the pair. “I’ve been disrespected. Disregarded. Deposed and disposed. But I’m not yet deceased,” Renny says as they begin their march to Las Vegas. Co-creator of this series, writer Patrick Kindlon has created a very original protagonist in Renny. He’s hungry and focused for revenge on those who’ve done him wrong. He often talks to himself and is very full of himself. His past is given in a series of teases when he and his robot gang encounter the Free People of the Mojave. Led by Brell, what this group wants of Renny is not really surprising, but is very fun to read. Renny’s had a very colorful and eventful past. What has led to his downfall is never specifically stated, but as the series progresses those responsible are sure to be revealed. Stealing every scene he appears is Robot Paul. I especially loved his focus on the mispronunciation of a word and how he has concerns about how others view him. He’s the most enjoyable low-key robot in print since Marvin appeared on the Heart of Gold. The issue ends with the pair of protagonists arriving at their first destination and getting ready to go into action. I enjoyed the characters, loved the dialogue, and want to see how this plays out. Overall grade: A

The art: The other co-creator of this book is artist Marco Ferrari. He’s got a style that reminds me of classic 70s sci-fi westerns, sort of a Hugo Pratt and Moebius mash-up. In fact, the visuals remind me of the best of early Heavy Metal magazine. The settings are exceptional, with the first pages showing an incredible amount of detail of Renny’s quarters: it’s littered with tools, spare parts, and plenty of dirt and grime. The two panels that comprise the pair of double-pages spreads on Pages 2 and 3 are epic. I was sold on the book’s visuals before I even saw the characters. Renny is a guy who looks as though he’s seen some rough times and is ready to reenter society. His cowboy hat and smoldering cigarette instantly put him in the mold of Clint Eastwood. Robot Paul is designed exceptionally well, looking like a creature made to be a friend. His look reminds me of classic Ian Gibson robots. The Free People of the Mojave are designed equally well, looking as though they should be fighting Mel Gibson or Tom Hardy. The open armed entrance of Brell on Page 7 is great. When Renny begins to tell the tale of his life, the panels gets rounded corners to show the reader that these are moments from the protagonist’s past. The layout of Page 14 is neat for how circles are used to show three different parts of Renny’s life, with the center image being the most intense. Page 20 is also a cool layout, showing the technology of the city in a full-paged splash, though it’s broken into six panels with thin black gutters. This allows the reader to focus on specific elements of the city as Renny and Paul have a dialogue. The final page reveals the visage of a new character, who looks very much like a famous actor from an HBO series. I’m really liking the mix of the West and technology and I’m very interested to see what Ferrari has this pair do in the city. Overall grade: A

The colors: Patriza Comino’s colors on this book are amazing. The stark colors of the desert truly create an overwhelming presence of heat. The interiors of Renny’s structure are given oranges and tans to establish shade, but remain sweltering. The first cool colors come from the greens of technologically enhanced binoculars — a neat way for colors to identify technology. The interiors of the Free People’s refuge are done in violets, a calming color which is perfect for what’s to be revealed later. Renny’s tale of his life has each moment employ one color, making each stand out for the reader. The final three pages introduce a new locale and Comino gives this setting dark hues, suggesting a reliance on technology or the evil that lurks there. Soothing blues appear on the final page when a character is fully revealed, marking this individual as one to be trusted. Overall grade: A

The letters: The text of this book includes dialogue, scene settings, Paul speech, a warning from a tiny robot, sounds, and the tease for next issue. Jim Campbell has always shown himself to be a strong letterer and he continues to prove it with this title. I really like Paul’s speech, which visually separates him from all human speakers. When he whispers his font increased the giggles of what he’s saying. The Warning robot is also very cool; its speech is robotic looking, yet different enough from Paul to make him sound unique. I’m liking what Campbell is doing. Overall grade: A

The final line: Action! Humor! Robots! All are within this cracking good tale of payback in Sin City. The story has got a great protagonist who loves to hear himself talk and I love hearing him do so. There’s some great action, with plenty of promises of more to come. The art is chock full of details that could be examined for hours and not all of its treasures fully discovered. The colors increase the intensity of the art and add to the tone of the story. The letters add another visual to the story, separating humans from robot. This is an entertaining book from AfterShock that has me Wanting! Needing! Desiring! More! Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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