Thug by David B. Cooper (The Brave & Handsome Squad) is a four-part superhero comic with a twist; rather than focusing on the masked heroes and villains, this title focuses instead on the ever-present ‘rent-a-thugs’ who find themselves standing behind the villain during his monologues, and – more often than not – bearing the brunt of the hero’s wrath as a result.
Specifically, we’re focusing on Ed, a jobbing henchman with family troubles and a son to provide for, who finds himself bouncing from villain to villain, rolling his eyes at their inherent absurdity while trying his best to earn another paycheck. Cooper adds several potentially interesting plot threads to this first issue as he establishes Ed as the main character, including his policeman brother, a young hero sidekick who shares his disdain for the whole “superhero” field of work, and a gung-ho ‘new hero on the block’ who seems intent on taking down the ‘Thug’ fraternity. And while these threads are just dangled at the moment, they do show a lot of promise for this being an intriguing, twist-filled story as it moves forwards, with a lot more than just the ‘tongue in cheek look at the world of superheroes’ approach going for it.
The one aspect which I feel is holding Thug back from becoming something truly special is the artwork. It gets the point across, sure, and does just about enough to keep the story moving forwards, but it is also undeniably rough in places, and features some extremely questionable anatomy and more than a few wonky facial expressions. With Cooper’s previous title, The Brave & Handsome Squad, some of that roughness was overcome by the vibrant colours, but unfortunately this book is completely in black and white, which only highlights the scratchy, sketch-like nature of the artwork.
I feel I should balance that previous statement though by pointing out that the writing here is absolutely top notch. Cooper’s creativity, story structure and gift for humorous moments shines through in every page, and there were a couple of occasions where I legitimately laughed out loud at this comic, drawing some curious glances from the people on the bus around me.
Thug is a fantastic concept smoothly executed, but is sadly let down by its artwork. I can only imagine how much promise this title would have with a little tidying up on the visual side of thing. However, as it stands now, it’s still worth a look for the writing, humour and the overall concept alone. It’s just a pity that such a cracking idea hasn’t quite reached its full potential. At least not yet, anyway.
You can grab yourself a copy of Thug #1 – as well as David’s other titles The Brave & Handsome Squad and Perpendicular Universe – RIGHT HERE.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says