Friday, November 11, 2016

Review - Brigands #1 (@ActionLabDanger)


"Prisoner at the gates! Guards on the ready!"

If it wasn't the Black Plague that got you in medieval eras it was maybe the Spanish Inquisition. Or maybe the Salem Witch Trials. The point is that past eras were filled with hysterias caused for whatever reasons that made life had for anyone who wasn't royalty. Brigands #1 from Action Lab Danger Zone is poised to capitalize on those dangers. The issue is written by Ram V and illustrated by Nick Barber, Jason Lewis and Kel Nuttall.

Pulled from death row and recruited by the secretive inquisition to steal an artifact called The Myros Pendulum, Stilian Desault now paired with an old colleague, Veina must put together a group of Brigands for the heist of their lives. But there are no happy endings or quick deaths for battle-forged blades. Stilian will soon discover that things are about to go very wrong.

Ram V doesn't hesitate to remind readers that medieval eras were anything less than stellar, as evidenced by the torture that opens Brigands #1. Stilian and Veina are tasked with bringing together a team of bad people to do bad things and Ram V seems content to revel in that villainous approach. The dialogue is pretty sound and does a good job of introducing the reader to the world those two inhabit. Ram V ensures that their actions are just as deplorable as one would expect as well, bolstering their claim to being the right people to steal the Myros Pendulum. The issue is paced pretty reliably as Ram V focuses on establishing the characters and the stakes pretty fluidly.

The artwork is a very slick take on the medieval era. Barber, Lewis and Nuttall illustrate the characters with sharp, angular lines and bodies that allow them to cut against the backdrops. Those backdrops are largely pretty empty, as the artists do enough to establish the setting without rendering an excess of detail.The panels are laid out in a standard grid with empty gutters that make the sparse backgrounds seem a little more sparse, but it also allows the action to stand out better. The colors range from dark to light depending on the setting and all the colors are a good fit contextually with the action on the page.

Brigands #1 is a medieval version of Suicide Squad with characters who are at less risk for exploding. Stilian and Veina are not good people and they don't care to be. The script by Ram V draws upon the stark realities of living in medieval times as inspiration for the events. The artwork is effective at following along with the action and demonstrating the nefarious nature of the lead characters. Brigands #1 is well-paced first issue that follows bad people doing bad things.

Brigands #1 is in stores now.

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