Publisher: Image Comics
Writer(s): Eric Powell, Tim Wiesch
Artist: Eric Powell
Release Date: 8th July, 2015
There have been many occasions throughout this series when it appeared as though the level of violence had reached it’s zenith, and each time Powell and Weisch’s collective minds seemed to find a sadistic new level. Well, they’ve outdone themselves in this issue by raising the bar once again; actually no, they take the bar, insert it into your mouth, and smash the end with a hammer until you resemble a rather bloody kebab.
As grim an image as those words might conjure, believe me, it’s nothing compared to the horrifying scenes of torture contained within these pages, as we finally find out the who, what, and why of the Big Man’s vengeful, blood-soaked mission. The guy on the receiving end is one of the most hateful, sadistic, and despicable ever committed to a comic page, and Powell affords both victim and reader no place to hide, using double page layouts for the majority of the book to provide us with a raw, unobscured view; and it’s truly powerful stuff.
Although the ultra-violence might be the series’ most talked about element, the calibre of writing throughout has been just as noteworthy. Both men clearly have twisted imaginations, but just as you begin to think that Powell and Weisch are simply a pair of nutbars in serious need of psychological help, they cleverly remind us in the final panel that this is a work of fantasy. It’s one of a few moments in the story to reference ‘Pagliacci’ that passed me by reading the earlier issues. Although the similarities to the play a loose at best, the recurring motif of the clown with a noose around his neck symbolises perfectly the struggle the titular Big Man faces, and adds another layer to a surprisingly complex character.
If you like your comic violence gory, brutal, and unnervingly creative, you be hard pushed to find better than this.