Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artwork: Arjuna Susini, Gonzalo Duarte (colours)
Release Date: 18th October 2017
The first issue of this new Oni Press series saw Jutte Shelley and the rest of her Special Ops team brutally gunned down in a callous and premeditated ambush. But see, Jutte’s no ordinary woman, as her other name – Jutte Frankenstein – would suggest. So, the seemingly unkillable Jutte does whatever any other self-respecting Frankenstein would in her place – she reanimates her dead team and sets out to get some good ol’ fashioned revenge.
This second chapter provides a noticeable departure from the jaw-dropping opening and shocking reveal of the first issue, but it does allow Tobin to flesh out his story a lot more, letting us get to know Jutte’s group and giving the series a clearer direction moving forwards. It’s an exposition-heavy issue for sure, but it kind of needs to be in order for us to really catch up with what’s going on, and Tobin allows us to meet the “team” – not quite Jutte’s former unit, but the best she could manage given her limited resources – via a series of enjoyable cut-away scenes.
The artistic partnership of Arjuna Susini and Gonzalo Duarte are given some fun toys to play with, including Leo, the current version of Jutte’s former teammate Gio Sabatini, who, due to the damage done to him in the ambush, had to have a lion head grafted onto his shoulders in place of the old one. Yeah, you heard me. Susini’s scratchy pencils and Duarte’s muted colours combine to give the book a gritty aesthetic that stops some of the more outlandish elements from feeling too cartoony, and given their impressive performance in the opening of issue one, it’s clear that this series is going to be a thing of beauty once Jutte and the Made Men start getting their revenge.
This issue also highlights an all-too-common trend in episodic storytelling, where the first chapter focuses on establishing the hook and grabbing the reader’s attention, leaving the second to do the heavy lifting in terms of story focus and exposition. As such, this feels like a slower, less exciting issue, but in the grand scheme of things, it still fulfills its role admirably.
The Eisner Award-winning Tobin’s writing chops are pretty much unquestioned, and with what looks set to be a mixture of “mission of the week” and an overarching revenge conspiracy, this feels like your new favourite TV show that hasn’t quite been made yet. In lesser hands, a “reanimated special ops unit led by the descendant of the Frankensteins themselves” could feel more than little hokey, but Made Men is delivered with an impressively straight face, making it a book I have no problem recommending.
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