Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Writer: Mark Russell
Artwork: Steve Pugh
Colours: Chris Chuckry
Letters: Rob Steen
Release Date: 4th March 2020
In 2044, climate change has devastated vast swathes of the Earth, economies have crashed, countless thousands have died, and refugees are everywhere looking for a safe haven. In a world where the dissolute, the disenfranchised, those who have been denied by a system designed by the super-rich to keep them down have nothing left to lose, there is no safe place for the average Billionaire to hide. At least not until the creation of Freedom Unlimited, a mobile island free from the riffraff, pesky details like rising sea levels or taxes, and permanently traversing international waters so that anything goes (as long as you can afford it, that is).
This first issue introduces is to the truly loathsome and impossibly wealthy Rick Canto, mastermind behind Freedom Unlimited and self-styled saviour of humanity. A man whose vision of a perfect future is population control through genetically engineered sterility via tainted aid supplies. And hey, if the side effects include the minor inconvenience of an Ebola epidemic, then it only goes to help reduce the population further and free up more resources for the worthy! We also meet the impossibly naïve reporter Shelly Bly, who waltzes straight into Canto’s clutches, threatening to expose his involvement in the deaths. Last but not least, we are introduced to a soldier out for vengeance, his family dead at the hands of Canto, murdered by the very food that was sent to save their lives. This is a man who has a real Frank Castle vibe going on, so I’m fully prepared for some gratuitous ass-kicking as the story progresses.
I think this series is going to be a bundle of fun. I love the concept, I love the villain, it’s got cheesy Bond villain written all over it, but there’s actually quite a bit of intellect there as well. Sure, Bly isn’t exactly going to win the investigative journalist of the year award, but her character is fun and interesting and I think she’s going to be a good foil for the serious and driven action man that I’m sure will be infiltrating the island before too much longer.
I’ll admit that I know very little about the creative team, but as I mentioned above, I think they’ve created something that has a lot of potential. It has humour, action and drama, and I love the idea that it’s the poor (pardon the pun) billionaires who are being hard done by and victimised.
Likewise, the artwork is good. It’s loud and brash where it needs to be, dark and noir to good effect in the interrogation scene, and has some really interesting character and world designs that keep things moving along nicely as the introduction of our players unfolds. I think that as the story progresses and we start to see more of the world and the action ramps up, Pugh and Chuckry’s artwork will really bring it jumping off the page.
I think this series has the potential to be really good, and while I’m not going to claim it’s perfect, I am already looking forward to the next issue. A good, solid effort, well done all involved.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek