Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colours: Lauren Affe
Release Date: 18th November, 2015
Someone is killing the Paybacks’ targets before the team can collect on their debts, and in this latest issue of Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal’s Dark Horse Comics series, we get to find out a little more about the mystery at the heart of this story. More than that though, this issue sees the series return to side-splitting form, with a barrage of one-liners and hilarious visual moments that make you instantly want to read the whole issue again as soon as you reach the final page.
Firstly, to Geoff Shaw’s artwork, every bit as expressive, dynamic and detailed as we’ve come to expect from him by now. In addition to the consistently high quality of his work here, Shaw also turns out a couple of truly fantastic action panels in this issue, including an exchange between Ms. Adventure and Night Knight that should raise grins and grimaces in equal measure. Lauren Affe’s colours also remain solid throughout; colourful without being overpowering, subtle without becoming dull.
Cates and Rahal absolutely nail the comedic aspects of the story right from the very first page here (actually before the first page, as the roster and “introduction” section is pure comedy gold), mixing the gags with almost shocking levels of violence at times. Their characters are also becoming more and more developed, with this issue expanding on the cliffhanger at the end of the previous chapter as we take a brief moment to look at the “origin story” of Ms. Adventure – or rather, whoever is claiming to be the seemingly-deceased hero.
The creativity here is boundless, with a brief glimpse at “Echo Team” providing another goldmine of washed-up superheroes and their brief, hilarious bios. We also get a little more face time with “Doctor Blaqk”, who comes across as a bizarre (yet genius) mix of Doctor Strange and Krieger from Archer. Honestly, from top to bottom, this series is absolutely fantastic, filled with detail, humour and affectionate fun-poking at established superhero tropes.
Arguably the funniest comic on the shelves right now, with some truly inspired gags peppering what’s actually a pretty damn intriguing superhero mystery series, The Paybacks is another absolutely essential purchase from Dark Horse Comics. Buy it. Buy it now!
Oh, but make sure you always remember the first rule of Popsicle Club, folks.
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If you want to find out a little more about the series, make sure to check out my interview with co-writers Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal. You won’t regret it. Hopefully.