Monday, March 28, 2016

The Paybacks #1 Review - Just for the Hell of it Mondays

I Just Had It Stuffed

Written by: Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal
Art by: Geoff Shaw, Lauren Affe and Michael Heisler
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

It's Monday again and that means that the folks here at Weird Science get to review anything they damn well please.  So, I am going to review " The Paybacks" which is a book that Alex has been pushing for me to review for quite some time.  Actually, he gave up a while back and probably thought it was never going to happen.  Thankfully, he was wrong and I am so glad that I finally got off my ass (actually, I am sitting while writing this, so "on my ass") and read it.  If you like hilarious satire and over-the-top fun, then this is definitely a book for you.  I don't know why I'm already telling you all this and not just starting my review, except Reggie has put a minimum word count rule on our introduction paragraphs.  Okay, that's 137 words (such an odd number to demand), now on with the review...

While we have mentioned it on out podcast a whole bunch, I will repeat myself a bit by telling you all how much I love a credits page that has a rundown of the story and the characters involved.  I'm mentioning that because The Paybacks has one, it's hilarious and...really, it's hilarious.  We get a story synopsis, character's (with my favorite little face bubbles) names and descriptions as well as a "previously in..." description that is very brief because...this is the first issue!  Like I said, hilarious.  The whole thing is informative, but also sets the tone for the entire series.

If that was all good fun, the real party starts when we see the Paybacks performing their "duties". They have arrived at the mansion of Archibald Primrose in order to collect on a loan for their boss, Mr. Pierce.  As the introduction states, "...being a superhero is expensive", but in the end, everyone needs to pay up and that's when the Paybacks get involved.  There's the usual repossession of goods, but the most interesting bit is that delinquency leads to membership in, you guessed it, The Paybacks!

If it wasn't completely obvious who Archibald Primrose was from his butler, it is hilariously thrown in the reader's face a page later.  Yes, he is the Night Knight and he is the best analogue of Batman I have ever read.  As a DC Comics fan running a DC Comics site, I often overlook the little "quirks" that make up the Dark Knight because I deal with them on a regular basis and that makes it all the better when the ridiculousness of the character is laid out before me.  Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal nail it in such a smart way that shows their love of the character as they undress him and his conventions.  In other words, it's fucking hilarious!

The story moves along by showing us the Paybacks team as they deal with their repo work with Night Knight and another case involving Battery (think Iron Man).  The jokes and references fly by at a breakneck speed and almost everyone scores a bullseye.  We meet a very grumpy Driver, a strange Doc, Miss Adventure and the rest, but my favorite was easily The Soviet Nunchuck.  He is a brute of a Russian karate master who doesn't speak English, but is being "taught" cool action movie catchphrases by members of the team.  Cates and Rahal manage to pick one of my favorites from Blade and it's delivered at the most nonsensical moment which makes it even better.

The issue ends with the beginnings of a mystery showing that not everyone is a fan of the Paybacks, but I can't really see how that is possible because they really are one of the best superhero teams in a crazy, whack, funky kind of way.

If you haven't been able to tell, I loved this book.  I know that humor is a very personal thing and while a lot of books are pushed as the funniest thing since sliced bread (seriously, who came up with that?), I can't see any comic fan not finding this book laugh out loud funny.  Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal poke fun at everything from the Big Two to Doctor Who, movies, television,music...nothing is sacred and that's why it is so good.  If you have any semblance of a funny bone, check this out.

I haven't mentioned anything about Geoff Shaw's art, but don't take that as a sign that I didn't like it.  I liked it a bunch and it's all about his character designs which are outstanding.  Like the story itself, he plays around with comic conventions and really seems to have fun with it.  It's easy to see why, he gets to mess around with some of the biggest characters and locations in all of comics and made me giggle to myself more than once.

Bits and Pieces:

I can't think of a funnier book to recommend to comic book fans.  Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal rip everything a new a-hole and had me laughing every step of the way.  This book is the bastard child of Watchmen and Naked Gun and yes, that is a huge compliment.  Highly Recommended.


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