Review – Ludocrats #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Jim Rossignol, Keiron Gillen
Drawing: Jeff Stokely
Colours: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Release Date:  20th May 2020

What in the heck did I just read?!

In a world where banality is a crime punishable by death (although not before you’re wed off to secure your estate), it pays to be ludicrous. Everything is strange and over the top. Each action and escapade must be bigger and bolder than the last, for fear of being labelled that most heretical of labels. Boring!

I could give a quick synopsis of this first issue and potentially boil it down to a cliched love story or fairy tale. Boy meets girl. Girl gets kidnapped. Boy vows to save girl. But when boy is a gregarious, ludocratic baron who dresses in blood “just to try it out” and girl is a steam engine you can see how things start to become a little blurry around the edges. I’ve never done any hallucinogenics, but if you blend stories of the best and worst of trips, I’m still not sure there’s comparison to be had.

In lesser hands I think Ludocrats would definitely have had the potential to fall flat on its face. Instead, through witty wordplay and gloriously comic visuals, we can tumble, like Alice, into this wonderland fever dream. Gillen and Rossignol manage to bring a frenetic energy with their writing, delivering raucous, bawdy humour with some nod and wink satire. I had to read it again straight after. Half of me thought I had imagined the whole thing and the other was eager to ensure I hadn’t missed anything.

Bringing this hellish but captivating world further to life are the visuals of Stokely, Bonvillain, and Cowles. Over the top colours and caricature take me back to when I first saw the likes of Rocko or Ren and Stimpy. In a book packed with both action and exposition, of sorts, the end result is very pleasing to the eye. This is not a book for kids despite the overly comic appearance. As I mentioned earlier, the opening splash of a large gent skyclad and drenched in blood put paid to any notion otherwise pretty quick.

If you want a book that’ll lift the spirits and you don’t mind a bit of weird, then this could be for you. On the other hand, it might not. I’m still a little confused. Maybe I should go back and read it again just to be sure…

What in the heck did I just read?!

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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