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Review: Banjax #1

Banjax #1

Banjax #1 is a wholly original and delightfully twisted deconstruction of the superhero genre.

Laird Mason, a disgraced former superhero, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, brought on by years of using his powers. Defending what he has deemed an ungrateful and ultimately unworthy city is literally killing him. With just months to live and a legacy hanging in the balance, Mason launches a violent and misguided Death Wish-like campaign to purge the city of supervillains before he dies.

There’s a lot to unpack in this issue. Rylend Grant spends the better part of the comic establishing his lead character through flashbacks. Laird Mason provides the narration that doubles as an intricate history over the superhero’s active years. It also provides a window into his current state of mind.

Grant doesn’t try to make you believe that Mason is an altruistic hero. He’s as fallible as all of us. The cracks to his psyche are just beneath the surface even at an early age as he suffers through an abusive childhood. The catalyst to his becoming a hero is the sexual assault of a woman who Mason doesn’t know. It’s a classic example of her abuse being used to kickstart his heroic tendencies. A dip into bad tropes that are dragged out too often. It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Due to the attack, he finally decided to stop being an observer.

Though it is possible, given a remark on one of the following pages and some art that doesn’t convey explicit force, that it isn’t a sexual assault but rather a willing participant desperate for a hit. I’ll leave that to you to decide if you read the comic. Regardless of the nature of the scene, there’s more than enough of a grey area regarding the participant’s consent to make you feel a touch uncomfortable with the way that it’s visually portrayed. Mason’s reaction leaves no doubt as to how he views the scene. That begs the question of whether he’s right or if he jumped to conclusions.

Beyond that scene, the comic is a very engaging read – we see Mason’s life through glimpses that give you such an understanding of the character that you honestly feel as though you’ve been reading the series for 20-30 issues already – by the end of the comic you’re left feeling somewhat astonished by the amount of content packed into the twenty odd pages, It never once feels crammed, or forced, instead having a very natural flow to the story as you experience a whirlwind tale encapsulating Mason’s life.

Visually the comic is impressive; the dark color scheme mirrors Mason’s state of mind as we see him hit the highs and lows of life. Despite being a less than savory character Mason never tries to justify his actions. This isn’t exactly a man who is a hero in all aspects of his life. His acceptance of the kind of man he has been gives him an oddly understandable air. Not that he’s a likable person, but you’re able to understand his reactions to certain things in his life. In a single issue, we watch the beginnings and the fall of a hero, only to really start his story as it comes to a close.

Although there is a scene in the comic that may make some less than inclined to read this book, and I totally understand that, Banjax #1 is a comic packed with backstory that sets up a story with a lot of promise going forward. This is a hero with a finite shelf life, and so we’re going to get to find out just how far a hero is willing to go to ensure the safety of his city in his last few months.

It’s a comic that’s worth reading if you’re interested in a unique take on a hero’s end of days.

Writer: Rylend Grant Art: Fabio Alves
Colors: Edson Ferreira Letters: HdE
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab: Danger Zone provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Banjax #1

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Achilles Inc. #3 (Source Point Press) – The concept of superheroes taking jobs from every day people is intriguing. The layered approach to it is what’s really impressive about this series. Enjoy it for what it is or dive deeper into the political/socio commentary, it’s enjoyable either way.

Banjax #1 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – A superhero has learned he’s dying and goes all out due to it. Yeah, we’re in.

Batman and the Outsiders #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue had some fantastic art and good team dynamic. We want to see where it all goes from there.

The Batman Who Laughs #6 (DC Comics) – We’ve gotten this far. We want to see how the team wraps this one up and brings it all together.

Event Leviathan #1 (DC Comics) – DC’s mini-event kicks off here and already is shaking up the DC Universe. We’re excited to see how this one goes and what it’ll lead to.

Five Years #2 (Abstract Studios) – Terry Moore brings so much of what he’s done together. This is one for the fans of his work and it’s absolutely worth it.

Grumble #7 (Albatross Funnybooks) – What comics should be, pure fun. Grab this entire series.

Jughead Time Police #1 (Archie Comics) – The concept sounds insane. Everything you need to know is in the title. We’re in.

The Ride: Burning Desire #1 (Image Comics) – The series just sounds like solid noir-ish entertainment with a former detective out of prison working as a bouncer with enemies looking to settle a score.

Spencer and Locke 2 #3

Silver Surfer: Black #1 (Marvel) – We’ve read it. It’s fantastic, especially for those who have been reading Donny Cates’ work. Tradd Moore’s art is fantastic too, especially with Dave Stewart’s colors.

Sonata #1 (Image Comics/Shadowline) – Two cultures clash on a planet they each believe is their Promised Land. Nope, no idea what this is alluding to.

Spencer and Locke 2 #3 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – Over the top noir/crime action that lampoons/loves the comics of our childhood.

Trust Fall #1 (AfterShock) – The series mixes superpowers and crime in what sounds like a really intriguing concept. There’s a hook here that’s really unique and stands out. We’re not spoiling it.

Voracious: Appetite for Destruction #2 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – One of the best kept secrets in comics. Start from the beginning (the first volume) or at least the first issue of this series to see what you’re missing. To tell you why would spoil the fun.

Preview: Banjax #1

BANJAX #1

Writer(s): Rylend Grant
Artist Name(s): Fábio Alves (Artist), Edson Ferreira (Colorist), HdE (Letterer)
Cover Artist(s): Fábio Alves (Artist), Edson Ferreira (Colorist)
***Same artists for both the regular and variant covers.
32 pgs./ M / FC
$3.99

CHAPTER 1: THE CURE. A wholly original and delightfully twisted deconstruction of the superhero genre by Hollywood screenwriter/Aberrant-scribe Rylend Grant. Liard Mason, a disgraced former superhero, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, brought on by years of using his powers. Defending what he has deemed an ungrateful and ultimately unworthy city is literally killing him. With just months to live and a legacy hanging in the balance, Mason launches a violent and misguided Death Wish-like campaign to purge the city of supervillains before he dies.

BANJAX #1

Banjax #1: A wholly Original and Crackingly Twisted Deconstruction of the Superhero Genre

Coming to you this June from Action Lab: Danger Zone is Banjax, a dark and decidedly wicked superhero noir that pulls no punches, that suffers no fools, that repeatedly gets knocked down, but always gets back up again with a smile. It’s an utterly treacherous comic dance that has already been banned in three States AND Puerto Rico.

Disgraced former superhero, Laird Mason, is diagnosed with terminal cancer brought on by years of using his powers. Defending what he has deemed an ungrateful and ultimately unworthy city is literally killing him. With just months to live and a legacy hanging in the balance, Mason launches a violent and misguided Death Wish-like campaign to purge the city of scumbags before he dies.

When things get really ugly, Mason’s measured and deliberate former sidekick, Abel Raines – the public’s current point-and-wink superhero ideal – is tasked with bringing his old mentor in. The issue? Raines isn’t remotely up to the task.

Creator Rylend Grant describes Banjax as a dripping-with-character Paul Thomas Anderson-like addiction play, folded into a Tony Gilroy-penned action thriller, directed by Michael Mann… Now, tell us that doesn’t sound intriguing.

Written by Grant, Banjax features art by Fábio Alves, color by Edson Ferreira, lettering by HdE, and a cover by Alves and Ferreira

Preorder Banjax #1 with the Diamond item code APR191268.
Preorder the special “mugshot” variant edition with Diamond item code APR191269.
Look for both in comic shop in June 2019

Banjax #1