Review - Retropunk

"I was debating whether or not your fleshy body was worth saving. I have often contemplated the aesthetic you would make on impact. -BZZZR- That, or I was stuck in traffic."

Bounty hunters have a penchant for always being in the thick of things. Their jobs require a lot of danger and risk on their part, but the payoff is typically worth it. Sometimes though, their bounty brings with it other bounty hunters, some of whom are going after the original bounty hunters. It's a fun dynamic to keep up with in Retropunk from Markosia. Retropunk is written by James Surdez and Matthew Ritter and illustrated by Jhomar Sorian.

Beneath the steel and neon glow of Pacific City a low-rent bounty hunter named Synthia "Muffy" Chambers just got a job offer, a small fortune offered for a simple bodyguard position. She's tasked with protecting a pop star named Naoki Yamamura, who goes by the stage name Lilith. But no job called simple ever is. Especially in a world of robotic partners named Vern, powerful mega corporations and cyber ninja assassins named Aya Muneyoshi. Mix in a rather sadistic bounty hunter sent after the original bounty hunter and you've got the makings of madcap mayhem of sorts.

Retropunk is a pretty familiar story akin to something you'd see on Cowboy Bebop. In that sense, there are lots of double-crosses and backstabs set against a somewhat whimsical look at life. Muffy is a very easy-go-lucky bounty hunter, who's willing to rely on sheer luck more than skill to get through just about any situation, save for those where she actually does showcase some cleverness. The plot is a little formulaic as well, but Surdez and Ritter do well to make it feel exciting, thanks to a very fast-paced script that manages to tackle tons of themes. There's also some very interesting character dynamics shared amongst certain characters, which offer slight twists to the familiar tale.

There's a clear leaning towards a manga look in Retropunk, with Sorian relying on black and white illustrations that are defined by sharp lines. Characters are depicted with relatively simple detail, but Sorian manages to fill out the backgrounds rather intricately. This affords the reader a fuller immersion into the setting of the story, by making every panel feel as if it's teeming with life. The characters also showcase a variety of looks that clearly differentiate one another, with Muffy coming across as a half-human/half-cat hybrid. Typically, black and white illustrations can come across as somewhat incomplete, but Sorian manages to infuse the work with a style that's both clean and offering a tech-infused look when it comes to characters and setting.

Retropunk is a very interesting book that takes a very familiar story of bounty hunters and mixes in some new twists in the way of the character relationships. There are some interesting interactions that carry the story along and give readers something to get invested in. Surdez and Ritter managed to make those characters fascinating and relatively complex enough that their dynamic feels spontaneous. Sorian's illustrations are a good mix of simple and complex, presenting a fully-realized world that one can dive into. Retropunk is a lot of fun to read and doesn't really take itself too seriously, which gives it room to breathe and become its own world.

Retropunk is out for sale right now on Amazon and on the Markosia’s website. It will be for sale on Comixology on the 28th of October.