Happy Comic Release Day!
I’ve been reviewing comics here and there since I started writing for Geek Dad but I thought it was time to organize them a bit more efficiently. So once a week, on comic release day, I’ll be spotlighting a comic. The comics will range from books published by the big two, large and small independents, and even favorite webcomics.
Summary: This is a superhero comic and features the origin of a new team of heroes in a universe that’s already seen several super-powered generations. At times, it reminds me of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, and in a very good way.
Many origin stories move slowly or feature a lot of background information. Honor Brigade does it right by starting with one intriguing hero, Toyboy, and following him through his fight to take down a corrupt corporate executive. Along the way, he acquires a number of super-powered companions.
The beginning is excellent as, at first, it’s uncertain whether the wisecracking Toyboy–think of him as a cross between the Joker and Spider-Man–is really on the right side of justice. I actually felt bad for the security guard that Toyboy tricks in the first sequence but that pays off too, as the security guard turns into a major character in the story. In fact, the security guard became my son’s favorite.
What kids will like about it:
They’ll like Toyboy’s wisecracks and sense of fun, they’ll like the humor in this story, but they’ll also enjoy the sense of family that develops between the characters. Oh, and they’ll like the superhero battles, nicely rendered by artist Bradley Bowers.
What parents will like about it:
They’ll like many of the same things that the kids do but they’ll also appreciate the inclusion of a single father as a hero and the three-dimensional characterization. Even the villain, who seems very much the evil corporate raider, turns out to have an interesting and understandable motivation for buying and developing all kinds of superhero technology.
The hero Lightning Rod tries to stop Toyboy from breaking into a hidden lab but both end up staring at a mystery women suspended in liquid in a life-size tube.
Extras in the trade:
There are three bonus stories for the trade written by other comics pros, including Gail Simone, writer of DC’s Secret Six and Wonder Woman, and Mike Bullock of “Lions, Tigers and Bears.” Simone also wrote the introduction.
About the creator: Tom Stillwell is the founder of Spinner Rack Comics, an independent comic company. He choose the name to deliberately invoke the feeling of the old spinner racks which once made comics available easily to all. He’s also one of the founders of Unscrewed, a non-profit organization to help comic creators in need.