Action Lab Entertainment 2015
Created & Written by Anthony Ruttgaizer
Illustrated by Danny Zabbal
Lettered & Coloured by Fred C. Stresing
As a United States Marine nearing the end of active duty in Afghanistan, Jake manifests extrahuman powers while under fire. Scared and confused by his sudden transformation, Jake is able to use his new abilities, an energy pulse that gives him immense strength and makes him near invulnerable, to defeat several enemy combatants and escape capture.
With his mind intact and his new powers still a secret, Jake returns home to Philadelphia and tries to settle into a normal life. But when the police attempt a violent takedown on an extrahuman teenager, Jake feels compelled to step in and help the boy. the situation gets out of control when both the U.S. Extrahuman Task Force and a rogue gang of extrahuman thugs arrive to turn South Philly into a full blown battlefield.
The young extrahuman Jake is trying to save suffers a catastrophic loss of control of his powers and dies in the resulting massive explosion. Jake escapes again but ends up making powerful enemies on both sides of the growing human/extrahuman conflict. Saddened by the young man’s death, Jake vows to use his power to prevent what he sees as the impending all-out war coming to the streets of Philadelphia.
That’s what you need to know coming into this story and it’s all there on the first page along with more information about the government's response to extrahumans. At the funeral for the young man it’s interesting to see already how the church is responding to someone being extrahuman or perhaps just this pastor. What I appreciate though is seeing how Jake is taking all this and how it’s shaping him as a man and reaffirming his purpose, though even that seems to waiver on occasion.
I have to say I like seeing Jake with his dad and that he and his grandfather may just share some similarities that Jake both is aware and unaware of. His going to work with his father however is the perfect smokescreen and opportunity for him to know what’s going on in Philly and being able to actually do something about it both in front of and behind the scenes. It’ll just be a matter of him figuring out exactly how to do it and if he’ll have help from anyone, his own supporting cast if you will who know his secret. However given general public attitudes towards extrahumans I doubt he’ll openly admit to anything instead the secret be revealed in other ways of which I look forward to seeing.
Alright so the opening now comes full circle as Jake’s friends come a calling on him. The Four Horsemen ride again right. The characterization here is really extremely good as you see right away that while these were his closest friends growing up the time he spent in the service and Afghanistan has changed him and these three are more the fools having never grown up and the maturity level between has changed dramatically. Sure Jake does his best to fall back into old times but you can sense things are different.
Things are getting clearer and clearer and you can see Cooper is going to try to use Jake to get the money he owes these people so he can keep his life. The other two already know what’s going on and when the truth of this fight club in an abandoned factory becomes clear well I hope that Jake can keep his cool and not blow his own cover because if he does well he’s got three friends sitting there with no moral compass ready to take advantage of that opportunity to profit from him.
Well boys and girls, kids of all ages if you haven’t read the first arc don’t worry i’m sure you can find it in trade format but in all honesty it isn’t a prerequisite for reading this one. It’s a pretty great jumping on point for new readers and for those already familiar well you’ll love Jake’s continuing story. Anthony has taken everything he’s learned thus far and made this story incredibly well paced, interesting, dynamic and full of characterization grabbing your attention filling your head with what if’s, something rare and much needed, and a desire to come back and see what’s next. This is strong intelligent writing.
The interior artwork is nice, clean and well executed, while sometimes lacking in nice background work the attention to the characters is great and they look like normal everyday folks, well except for one extrahuman, and that’s good to see. Danny and Fred bring a lot of life, emotion and drama to the pages and really bring this alive nicely.
I keep telling you Action Lab is home to some incredibly strong series!