Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: André Lima Araújo
Colours: Chris O’Halloran
Lettering: Rus Wooton
Release Date: 6th October 2021
Sometimes you get the opportunity to read something that simply resonates with you. It could be a story that sparks or sings to some shared experience. It could be that the art digs, claws, and worms its way into your head. A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance, a new series from Rick Remender and Andre Lima Araujo, is one such comic.
Ever had one of those days? Not like typical drudgery, but one of those days where you think every decision from getting out of bed in the morning leads to ever increasing problems? Well just be thankful your day isn’t as bad as the protagonist’s in this immense new story.
Putting me in mind of a disheveled Benedict Wong, we follow this guy’s travels north of Vancouver. Details of who our protagonist is, and why he’s on a series of buses to a secluded house in the woods, are sketchy at best. However, instead of being off-putting or feeling contrived for the sake of storytelling, this is perfectly played to add hefty tempo while allowing the story to build up to a satisfyingly paced end.
So what’s it all about? Well, starting off with our protagonist purchasing some cigarettes, getting caught in the rain, and then becoming increasingly annoyed with how inconsiderate and woeful humanity can be, there was a sense that this might go all Falling Down on us. Instead, there are some periods of respite where we catch the warmth and frailty that the human condition also bestows. Moments where we realise that perhaps the anger is reflective of our own behaviours? Whether it’s the old folks on the first bus or the kid at the bus stop struggling with a decision on a suffering bird in front of him. This all sounds a touch high-brow, and I’m sure you could read a lot into it, but there’s also a tense crime thriller foundation here with scenes I can’t bring myself to spoil.
As great a premise we have here, it wouldn’t hit anywhere near as hard without the fantastic accompanying artwork and Wooton’s lettering. Other than letting us know we’re in Vancouver BC, there are no words for the first four or so pages. Instead, Araujo and O’Halloran are afforded some time to properly set the scene and visual tone. It’s a cloudy but otherwise bright start to the day in Chinatown so the following downpour, whilst skirting the cliché, cements the kind of spiral that’s going to play out.
With a lack of heavy speech bubbles, this debut issue relies on the conveyance of emotion in the expressions and visual details; all of which are fantastic. The glances and gestures between bus passengers or strangers so familiar and convincing. This style, as mentioned above, also gives ample opportunity for readers to breath and digest what’s going on. Instead of ‘reading’ there’s a real sense of being present and experiencing the story.
From its fairly pedestrian start to a strangely coincidental encounter at a store which has dire consequences, and blood curdling panels, this had me enthralled and quick to devour a subsequent re-read; or two! Everything chimes in the right way and leaves you with this perturbing, shocked satisfaction. Not to detract from the praise here but I’ll temper by saying A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance could have caught me in the perfect mood to absorb. Beware the comfortable open, this is definitely not for the faint hearted.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster