Heavy Metal 2020
Mature Readers Title
Written by Dan Fogler & Andrew Harrison
Illustrated by Simon Bisley
Lettered by Crank!
It's 2033, New Yorkers survive on scraps in a despoiled America. John Miller is an action hero for the ages, a rough and ready badass who could drink Han Solo, Jack Burton, and John McClane under the table. Brooklyn Gladiator is a tribute to the comics, films, and experiences that have inspired author Dan Fogler.
Well this is certainly for mature readers only and it’s not safe for work, the book or the review, so with that being said let’s get this party started shall we. The idea here is pretty good in that it depicts a very distinct future and one that has just a few traces of what could happen to make this extremely more interesting and entertaining than you might begin to believe. I am a fan of the whole historical fiction genre and while this may not be the past it certainly counts as what the future holds, based entirely on how we see current events. So whether this could come to pass or not it has this incredible science fiction element to it that is so much fun.
I am enjoying the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented extremely well. I like how the running narrative is being utilised here as John takes us through his life, the city and what is happening in this world. It is an interesting take and it helps since we seem to have found ourselves in the midst of an ongoing story. By this I mean he’s already on the move and running for his life, not that we’ve missed anything as of yet. The character development that we see is so integrally tied into the story development at this stage that it's freakin’ amazing to see. We see and learn more about him in this one issue than some folks are able to do in several. The pacing is sensational and as it takes us through the pages revealing this world and the twists & turns along the way it’s easy to see how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow.
I am a huge fan of Biz and the work that he does. Right from that first page where we get to see his creativity and imagination unleashed, including those boobies, well it’s like welcoming back an old friend you haven’t seen in ages. The man has this style and panache to his work that makes instantly recognisable and to see how he creates the detail work that we see is fabulous. The way that backgrounds are utilised and made integral to the story is beautifully rendered and they give us depth perception, a sense of scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a remarkable eye for storytelling. The colour work is amazing as well. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work really are a joy to see. Light sources casting that different hue or the giant advertising all done in those blues it all just demonstrates someone who understands to colour their own work.
Decidedly original and crass beyond belief this is the kind of storytelling we used to have to hide from everyone. It is utterly fantastic that this is now mainstream because the way this is structured and how the layers of the story reveal themselves all the while wrapped up in this unapologetic stellar artwork, well it’s the stuff that thrills us.