Insane Comics 2016
Created & Written by Dave Cook
Illustrated & Lettered by Chris O’Toole
Jack fled with his family to Austin where events occurred that led him to betray the city’s leader and ended up getting his family killed. Then Jack managed to do the impossible and kill Eddie, his old boss and ruler of Austin. This sent the city into chaos and he fled once again. Now he’s a wandering blade for hire, a protector of the people….
It’s been a while and the plague has stopped infecting people but that hasn’t meant society in any way is coming back. Instead factions like the Smiley’s seize control and mob mentality rules. I find it interesting that Dave manages to represent some of my feelings so incredibly well, that when society does collapse it’s going to be those with the least and most questionable morals that will rise to the top. After all they are the ones willing to do whatever it takes to gain and keep control.
Poor Jack he suffers from PTSD and every night he dreams of his family and how they never had the chance to leave Austin with him. It’s what has driven him after all this time to do what he’s doing. Guilt and denial play huge roles in this as well but he did what he thought was going to be best for his family and listened to his friend even if he knew it wasn’t a good idea. Still he can’t let it go and no matter he does, how many he kills in the name of justice or doing good things he’s not able to forgive himself.
So this is very much a character driven story and I love that. It could have just focused on the mutated people and animals but it doesn’t they play background roles and they are used effectively that way. While Chuck and his Smiley’s have targeted Jack and given him a new purpose it’s meeting Lilly and the Fed’s this issue that will really bring about the changes in him he so desperately needs. Again story driven not just an apocalyptic wasteland to be traveled killing people but a drive, purpose and reason for going on. Dave does such good things with the characterization here, not just of Jack but of all the characters, that we have a great understanding of who they are and it makes us care about them.
The interiors by Chris are alright. He’s getting better with each issue, page and panel he does and this kind of growth and evolution is nice to see. He’s a got a good eye for how the story should flow and that’s a great start. There are little details he throws in that are surprising and give things that little extra oomph. His consistency in faces and characters as improved greatly and while it's an independent look it’s got a lot of nice things about it. Plus there are some nice use of backgrounds, more would be nice, that help set the mood and tone of what’s happening.
Each issue gets just a little better, okay so it’s only two issues, and it’s great to see. The story, premise and characters are solid and it’s nice to see “new” creators grow and evolve and become something more. You can see potential in this work and watching them start to reach it is really exciting to me. Get in on this it’s a great book and shows us a different side of the fall of society making it an original, unique look at one man’s journey to find himself again.