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Review: Merry Men #2

Merry_Men_2_coverMerry Men #2 is mostly focused on the backstory of Robin Hood, his relationship with King Richard Lionheart, and why the queer Merry Men got thrown out. This is a comic dealing with important and relevant issues like homophobia and Islamophobia under the guise of an alternate history of medieval England. There is a scene where Prince John and his evil ally, the Bishop of Hereford, look at the Bible and use one vote in Leviticus to ruin Richard’s supporters, who are gay and bisexual men, that reminded me a lot of contemporary Republican politicians who take the Bible out of context to justify their hateful legislature.

Writer Robert Rodi has a wicked wit and a bit of a dirty mind during the more humorous scenes, but also gives each character a complex motivation. For example, Robin Hood isn’t just an archer/freedom fighter, but a spurned lover of King Richard, who just wants to be left alone. (Honestly, I want a one-shot of Richard and Saladin romance.) His take on Sir Guy of Gisborne is quite creepy as he is a racist, homophobic, body dismembering pedophile, but his pedophilia is implied through dialogue and frightened facial expressions and not on panel.

Jackie Lewis’ art has a lot of details as far as background and clothing goes but has cartoonish facial expression, which works for a high drama adventure story. It really feels like you’re in the Middle Ages while reading the comic, and Marissa Louise uses lots of browns and greens to go with the whole forest wanderers’ motif. This issue adds much-needed shading to the characters and Robert Rodi’s and Jackie Lewis’ world and also has yet another essay showing that yes, there were LGBTQ people in the Middle Ages, including one ginger king of England.

Story: Robert Rodi Art: Jackie Lewis Colors: Marissa Louise
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy