Indie Comics Spotlight-The Delinquents, Damsels in Excess, The Goon


by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

The Delinquents #1


“You damn, dirty hobos!”

Fans of Valiant Entertainment already know about two of their more dysfunctional relationships in Quantum and Woody and Archer and Armstrong. Sure, other characters like X-O Manowar, Bloodshot and Rai are fighting the good fight and trying to save the world, the aforementioned duo of duos are typically fighting amongst themselves and for themselves. So what would happen if all four characters came together in one epic book? The Delinquents #1 wants to answer that question. The issue is written by James Asmus and Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Kano.

Quantum and Woody are the world’s worst superhero team. Archer & Armstrong are a mismatched pair of conspiracy-busting adventurers. When a mysterious force unites these ill-suited and irresponsible “heroes” for a cross-country race through the darkest corners of American mythology, all hell is bound to break loose. Can two busted pairs become four of a kind in time to defeat the Hobo King, save the day and make it back home in time for happy hour? And don’t forget about the goat.

As their own books, both Archer and Armstrong and Quantum and Woody have their own comedic sensibilities about them that really make them stand out among just about every book out there. Part of that humor comes from the dynamics of the two lead characters and each; a dynamic that both Asmus and Van Lente keep fully intact in The Delinquents #1. The story that unifies the two duos is also very believable in both of their worlds, as it’s just outlandish enough that it could actually work. Both pairs are on something of a crash course and they don’t realize it, which is part of the charm behind the impending ridiculousness they’re all hurtling towards. And be satisfied in knowing that all the funniness and comedy from the individual series is on full display, with the respective comedians of the teams loving life, while the more serious are focused on keeping their eyes on the prize.

Both books have unique art styles that do share some similarities and Kano does a fantastic job of bridging those similarities into a complete work. All four main characters are easily recognizable and carry all their trademark distinctions, even if they do look slightly different than readers are familiar with. Kano’s style is somewhat distant, in that panels look as if they’re viewed from a distance. The characters stand amidst the background settings in a way that offers a sharp contrast between the two; many of the panels really just feature the characters acting against a solid colored background for whatever reason. It’s an interesting style that gives the characters more attention at the expense of filling out the world around them.

The Delinquents #1 epitomizes what Valiant Entertainment is all about: books that feature somewhat dramatic storylines masked behind immeasurable amounts of comedy. All four main characters are in full form in the book, which promises an extremely fascinating dynamic when they all cross paths with one another. Asmus and Van Lente do an extraordinary job weaving together a story that features all of them in settings that are very convincing. Kano’s art includes all the details of the characters that readers have come to know, love and appreciate, keeping up with the scenarios laid out by the writers. The Delinquents #1 is a lot of fun and maintains the spirit of the characters involved and if the first issue is any indication, their misadventures will be pretty freaking fantastic.

The Delinquents #1 is in stores August 20.

Damsels in Excess #1


“You might be asking yourself by now, “what am I doing fixing my own wheel, and more importantly–what has happened to all the men?”

The saying goes that “women are from Venus and men are from Mars.” The idea is that the differences between the two sexes are so great that they might as well be from different planets. What if one of those planets didn’t exist though? How would the remaining sex deal with the sudden exodus? Damsels in Excess #1 from Aspen Comics seeks to find out. The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, penciled and colored by Mirka Andolfo, inked by Simone di Meo and lettered by Josh Reed.

In the land of the Five Realms, the existence of men has long since been evaporated from the hearts and minds of women. Princess Bethany–ruler of Evanfar, the largest and most prominent kingdom, finds herself at the center of a vast conspiracy that could not only threaten her kingdom, but also her life. Journey to a place where magic is abundant, unicorns and ferrets can command armies and five women struggle to find balance—and power–in an ever-changing fairy tale world.

While Damsels in Excess #1 is one of the newest books in the Aspen Comics stable, Hernandez is certainly familiar to both the publisher and fans of their books. His work on the book feels much like his work on other books, including Charismagic, in that there’s an emphasis on the fantastic. The premise is very intriguing as well, with all traces of man being erased because of one man’s lust and dissatisfaction with his wife’s affliction. Princess Bethany proves to be pivotal to the entire series as a whole, with the last page offering quite a crazy twist in terms of where the story is going. Most of the issue, Hernandez features all the princesses bickering about their positions. That bickering comes courtesy of a ton of dialogue; something which may be the only slight drawback to the book (there’s just so much to read).

Damsels in Excess #1 feels like a fairy tale in some ways and Andolfo’s style is very appropriate to fit that dynamic. All of the princesses are illustrated with differing looks and body types that prevent the reader from being confused as to who’s who. The princesses are also styled uniquely in ways that reflect the kingdoms they rule, which also offers another dimension to their personalities. Andolfo lays out the panels in a ways that further emphasize where the princesses rule, making full use of the page and not conforming to standard comic layouts. The line style is also very sharp and edged, which makes the book feel like it has something of a polished sketchbook feel to it.

Damsels in Excess #1 starts the series off in a very intriguing way. The concept behind a man’s lust inadvertently leading to every other man’s destruction is a pretty bold way to start. What’s bolder is where the story goes from there. Hernandez clearly has an overarching plot in mind that will definitely need all the issues to be fully fleshed out; the first issue is a little over-ambitious and feels cluttered at times. Andolfo contributes a somewhat fairy inspired art style that’s befitting of a fantasy book such as this. Damsels in Excess #1 looks to be starting off on the right foot and will definitely feel more balanced with future issues.

Damsels in Excess #1 is in stores now.

The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1


“How shortsighted must you be: to take your own life over matters of the heart? How self-absorbed? How selfish? Dumb? Just plain dumb.”

The Goon is a character who really doesn’t need much of an introduction to many. The thing is, there are a good number of readers who really don’t know much about him, which is a shame. Any books featuring the character are always great reads and Dark Horse is adding another book to that repertoire in The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1. The issue is written and illustrated by Eric Powell.

There are numerous complexities to love, many of which Fred Paulsey was subjected to in his advances toward Sandy Wayne. It’s a story that reminds The Goon of a previous memory and love lost, snapping him back into the present and a drink at the bar. That drink is rudely interrupted when Noodles sends a message about some action preparing to go down, prompting The Goon to rally Mudd, Kid Gargantuan and Franky to a defensive cause. They’re going up against a group of foes named The Arab, Longfingers, Stone, Spindle, Spade and Rake. Things are getting tough for The Goon and that sense doesn’t appear to be letting up any time in the immediate future.

Powell has always written The Goon with a certain level of sophistication behind the bar brawls and that trend continues in Goon: Occasion for Revenge #1. The Goon doesn’t really enjoy fighting, but he knows it must be done to protect the innocent and has no qualms about doing it if the situation is right. Powell manages to deliver that message in a way that feels completely natural for the character, presenting his stoic combat prowess alongside the more brash humor of Franky. And the enemies in the book are very intriguing; not just in name, but in appearances that are very befitting of those names. Powell paces the book with extraordinary precision, carefully crafting a tale that comes full-circle by the end and reads in an exciting fashion.

The Goon is one of those characters where the writer is also the artist and it makes a very positive difference when it comes to illustrating that character. Powell definitely has a handle on him and presents the character in his trademark noir style. There’s a heady blend of past and retro in the book, something that places the book in a time that feels just nostalgic enough where the reader feels like they’re visiting a story of the past. The beauty of the work is that it doesn’t rely on excessive detail to get across the action; Powell’s scratchy style is relatively simplistic with ample accents on shading and cross-hatches. Panels are also done in a way that makes it feel like you’re looking through a photo album, as they’re meticulously placed next to one another.

The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1 is a book that fires on all cylinders and then some. It’s a great introduction to the character for those who don’t really know much about him, but for fans of The Goon the book continues a story that is just plain awesome. All of the characters have their own voices, largely in part they’re characters Powell has lived with for so long. His time with the property has afforded him much time to hone his style as well, presenting characters who are extremely engaging and in a style that screams pin-up, where every page could easily be ripped (or taken delicately) from the book for display. The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1 is extremely enjoyable and represents a very good book for readers new and old to pursue the exploits of The Goon and his buddies.

The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1 is in stores now.

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