Publisher: A Wave Blue World
Writer: James Maddox
Artwork: Gavin Smith
Lettering: Ryan Ferrier
Release Date: 9th October 2019
What do you get if you take Enter The Dragon, Mortal Kombat and Rowdy Roddy Piper, throw them in a sack and give them a good shake? You get Dead Legends, a brand new series set for release this October.
Full disclosure, I’ve gone into this completely blind. The preview copy I’ve been given doesn’t even have a list of the creative team or a synopsis, so I apologise in advance for not giving credit where it’s due or missing a subtler plot point.
I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly picked up a martial arts genre comic book. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good martial arts movie. I love Kurosawa, I love Samurai movies, I’ve just never picked up a martial arts comic (unless we’re counting TMNT.) However, I have to say that on first read-through of this issue I had an absolute blast! This is fast, funny, blatantly riffing off its influences, and a nostalgic delight for anyone brought up on the sheer over-the-top brashness of ‘80s and ‘90s martial arts and wrestling.
The story we’re presented with in this first issue is simple enough in its setup – namely, a martial arts tournament where the best fighters in the world compete. A mysterious interloper with revenge on her mind and their host, Master Damon, an ancient Japanese mast…. actually no, he’s a drunken mixture of an ‘80s beach bum and Roddy Piper. I honestly can’t think of anything else that fans of the genre could ask for. There’s bloodshed, beheadings, and brutal head stomping, all delivered with tongue in cheek and a sly wink to let you know it’s not taking itself too seriously.
The artwork is really good, and fits the story like a glove. The whole kme thing looks very much like an ‘80s/early ‘90s martial arts movie. The settings are perfect, the character designs are great and the overall page design, especially during the action sequences, helps to keep everything flowing nicely.
I couldn’t in good conscience claim that this is a genre I know a lot about, but as I said above, I had a blast reading this and I’m really looking forward to the next issue. If you’re an ‘80s martial arts movie fan you’re going to love this. If you’ve ever been a fan of Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, WWE, or cheesy action movies, you’re going to love this. Kudos to the team behind this, because you’ve converted a comic enthusiast of 40 years to a brand new genre!
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek