Review: Banjax #2
Banjax is a wholly original and delightfully twisted deconstruction of the superhero genre. That continues in Banjax #2.
Cancer-ridden former superhero Laird Mason launches a violent and misguided Death Wish-like campaign to purge the city of supervillains before he dies. His straight-laced protégé, Abel Raines, is tasked with bringing him in. The problem? Raines isn’t remotely up to the task. It’s a story presented exclusively from the maniacally twisted point of view of a man who hasn’t slept in over seven days.
Much like the first issue, there’s a lot to unpack in Banjax #2. Rylend Grant gives us a more thorough introduction to Laird Mason’s protege Abel Raines. He’s a man who has capitalized on his career as a hero with some pretty impressive financial gain. We get to see Gaines’ story through his own eyes. He’s building up for a big launch in the upcoming days that will, we’re reminded constantly, make him even richer. The one, unexpected snag? Laird Mason has returned and is waging a one-man war on crime. The public needs his former protege to stop him.
Once again, Grant doesn’t try to make you believe that Gaines is an altruistic hero. He never quite gets to villain status, either. This is a character who lives in the ethical grey areas. He’s a fallible man. He seems to struggle with his choices. The weight of responsibility and his past catch up to him.
As Laird Mason, the eponymous Banjax, is shown tearing his way through the criminal underworld on video screens, Gaines gives us a bit more context to what we’re seeing; it’s just enough to make you question who you should be rooting for after two issues – which is exactly the position I want to be in with a comic that thrives when you’re left questioning who you agree with.
Fabio Alves and Edson Ferreira are once again impressive on art duties. There’s a dark and gritty colour scheme that blends remarkably well with the tone of the story – but the art is never once too dark or muddled to see what’s happening on the page. Raines gradual descent into his sleep deprived state is shown with deft subtly between the background colours and his increasingly more strained facial expressions. The comic seems focused on the downward spiral of two men who are now but shadows of their former selves.
On the whole I was impressed with the first issue, and the second issue has built on the promise of the first. Grant, Alves and Ferreira have created a deeply intriguing series, one that’s well worth adding to your pull list if you’re interested in a unique take on a hero’s end of days, and the train wreck he’s causing as he goes out in a blaze of glory
Writer: Rylend Grant Art: Fabio Alves
Colors: Edson Ferreira Letters: HdE
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Action Lab: Danger Zone provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review