Bill may be dead, but he’s got a job to do. Welcome to the Big Wait, where folks who don’t quite make the cut go to work off their debt. Everyone in the Wait’s got a job. Bill is a Heavy, whose job is policing the multiverse, making sure bad eggs get what’s coming to them. He’s on track to earn his Climb and reunite with the woman he loves… Heavy is The Punisher for neurotics; Inception for the impatient; Preacher for…well, it’s a lot like Preacher. Max Bemis and Eryk Donavan bring you a story about the existential purpose of dumb boys with big guns in Heavy #1.
Max Bemis is one of those writers that I don’t tend to follow from comic to comic, but I always seem to enjoy the comics he writes to the point where I was on the fence about reading Heavy #1 until I saw Bemis’ name attached to the project. His dry sense of humor is evident throughout the pages of the comic as Bill’s snide and sarcastic comments drive his narrative through some spectacularly violent moments. This is a comic that opens with a middle-aged man breaking a teenager’s nose because we can only assume based on the knowledge we get a little further on, he deserved it on a cosmic scale of justice.
In fairness, compared to some of the other folks Bill encounters, the teenager got pretty lucky.
Comparisons to the Punisher are inevitable given that this is a character killing and otherwise injuring those who are guilty of some crime against the space/time continuum, but that’s where the similarities end (though it is really useful to be able to say “start with the thought of it’s like the Punisher meets Preacher, but its far more fun”). Whereas Frank Castle is a grim, determined guy with no shits to give who can stop his mission at any time (but won’t), Bill has a clearly defined end goal, a whole lot of self-pity, and a wry appreciation of what he has to do if he is going to finally move on with his (after)life.
Artistically, Eryk Donovan and Cris Peter are really solid. There are some suitably eclectic pages in the comic when it comes to the odd page (but what would you expect from a book whose main character has killed 14 different versions of the same person), and it helps to make the comic one of the more visually exciting reads on the racks. There’s an energy to the art that really encourages you to read the book at an equivalent pace to match what you’re seeing on the page, which can make you miss some of the details in the art itself. It’s an odd conflict, and one that may have been specific to me, but if nothing else it encourages you to read the book twice before you put it down.
Fortunately, it’s a book that’s more than good enough to read twice anyway.
Vault Comics have been publishing some absolute corkers recently, and Heavy #1 is another on a growing list of Must Read comics.
Writer: Max Bemis Art: Eryk Donovan
Colorist: Cris Peter Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review