Velleity Studios 2017
Written by Chris Hoffman & Andrew Malin
Pencilled by Alexandre Nascimento
Inked by Chris Hoffman, Andrew Malin & Tyler Davis
Cover by Alexandre Nascimento & Dijjo Lima
Ruthless. Ruthless stars Ruth, a scrawny 16-year-old girl who is obsessed with Marathon City's mysterious hero, the Grey Phantom. Ruth is bullied by the girls at school, her stepmum, and her lecherous boss. Life is constantly threatening to crush Ruth, but she overcomes daily torment to take care of her younger sister, Cindy, the light of her life. When tragedy strikes and Ruth's world falls apart, she must make a terrible choice. When tragedy strikes, do you become a hero, or do you become...Ruthless!
You may be tired of me saying this but man I am so happy when people find me and my website and ask for me to look at their work and do a review. Chris contacted me and sent me this and here we are, I have to thank him personally because finding my site and liking my work is something am eternally grateful for. First thing I noticed was the cover and I was like okay have no idea what this is going to be about but I am totally interested, and second thought was that I hoped the interiors were of the same quality.
We open up with a look at Ruth’s family life and I have to say it’s really not good. The gist of it is this Ruth’s father was a cop, I assume he died in the line of duty, her stepmum is not a very nice person and is “saddled” with his kids and now spends her days I a filthy mess while drinking, smoking and presumably some sort of prescribed mood altering medications. Actually from what we see here you’d think she and her sister would be absolutely miserable kids, acting out and being troublemakers but they aren’t.
I like the way that this book is structured. I like getting to know Ruth and the contradiction that she is. We see the Gray Phantom on the telly so we know he’s Marathon City’s protector and they make comic books about him too. Also that Ruth takes care of her sister the way she does is both sad and admirable and if it weren’t for the characterisation we see throughout the book I would seriously question her mental health. For every character that appears in this book their characterisation is fleshed out so that we immediately see them for the kind of people they are and again impressive work on the boys behalf.
In my younger days I wasn’t a fan of black & white interior artwork, thankfully I am an old fella now. I really like seeing the linework here and how it is manipulated through the varying weights so that we see the most subtle nuances and then big bold black. Black and White is very unforgiving when it comes to making mistakes or missteps and with what we see here I am almost astonished at how good the work we see is. It has such beautiful linework and it’s sure and steady and while there are three of them inking it all has this great cohesive look and feel. The way page layouts are utilised and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a solid eye for storytelling as do the fact that we see backgrounds utilised in such effective ways.
This is an origin story, it gives us a look into Ruth’s life and the that one single moment that changes it forever. It is always said that one single event is all it takes to either become a hero or a villain and it is the reaction to that event is what matters. So does Ruth become a hero or does she become Ruthless? This emotionally charged first issue will take you to places you never knew you could go and it will leave you feeling for Ruth and wanting to see her story unfold. I cannot begin to describe how strong and powerful the story is or how easy it is to relate to Ruth right down to the last page.
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