Publisher: Action Lab
Writer: Rylend Grant
Artist: Fabio Alves
Colourist: Edson Ferreira
Release Date: 10th July 2019
Laird Mason is out of control. With a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer removing the last vestiges of restraint from his actions, “Banjax” sees himself as the final solution in the war against crime. Now the CEO of a half billion dollar company, Abel Raines no longer dons the mask and has created the Cerberus initiative, a team of the baddest, most highly trained operatives money can buy. However, when faced with taking down his former partner and mentor he realises they may not be enough, and that Raines may need to become “Gyro” again in order to take down Mason and rescue his plans for a nationwide roll-out of his Cerberus program.
This is not your typical superhero story. A vigilante story that cycles through a tragic origin story, a blazing rise to fame and an equally swift fall from grace and into the pits of despair. This is not a story of white hats and black hats, everything is shades of grey, everybody’s hands are dirty and whether Banjax or Gyro wins, both will lose something they’ll likely never get back.
Is this the greatest superhero story ever written? No, it isn’t. It has the seeds of a great story, but it also has a lot of rough edges that really need addressing. The switch between present day and the past is really disorienting, and this isn’t helped by the panel layout in a lot of cases. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the first two issues, but it needs a lot of polishing. The series has a really good premise, and while the timeline and delivery can be a little disorganised, the writing is reasonably solid and there’s a good amount of tension has kept me interested, although I’m struggling to see how Grant could fill this story out past maybe another two issues.
Again, the artwork is solid enough. Fabio Alves does a good job of bringing the world of Banjax to life, and delivers both the darker side of the superhero life and the overall tension in the narrative well. I’ve said it before, I’m not a massive fan of CG art. Alves manages to get a good level of detail into this, and there’s certainly some interesting character designs, but I always feel the colouring lets it down. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the detail is lost in very flat and bland colouring.
The problem that this series really suffers from is that there is such an incredible amount of exceptional creator-owned/small press comics out there at the moment that to get noticed you really have to bring your A Game every day.
All in all, this is an interesting take on the superhero narrative and if you don’t mind your comics being a little rough round the edges then it’s definitely worth a shot.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek