Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Paybacks (2016) #1 Review - Just for the Hell of it Weekends

Time For Some Payback(s)

Written by: Eliot Rahal and Donny Cates
Art by: Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe and Taylor Esposito
Cover Price: $3.50
Release Date: July 13, 2016
Publisher: Heavy Metal

While I was late in the game, the minute I began reading The Paybacks, it was a "Where have you been all my life?" kind of moment. It's hard for me to fully explain in an introductory paragraph like this, but believe me, it's just something that clicks in your brain and makes you so, so happy.

On the surface, the Paybacks is a great capes and cowls superhero book, but it is also so much more.  Eliot Rahal and Donny Cates obviously know the genre and use that knowledge to twist and bend things to turn them into something hilarious, unique and if you ask me, better.  With pop culture references galore, some of the best characters I've ever read, great art by Geoff Shaw and a crazy ongoing mystery, I thought this was going to be a book that I'd be looking forward to each month for years and years and years.  And then it ended after four issues. WTF?!?   Plus, it ended at a huge cliffhanger reveal...WTFFF?!?  What is this, a British television show or something?  So, when I heard that the book was picked up by Heavy Metal, I was more excited than a Jessie Spano Caffeine Pill Freakout! The only thing scary about all this is the worry that this continuation will not live up to the original and give me bad feelings inside my fragile heart.  So, did Rahal, Cates and Shaw come through?  Let's find out...

 Okay, if you haven't yet read the first four issue of the Paybacks, go do so now and come on back...we will wait for you.  If you have attention issues like yours truly, Rahal and Cates have provided a couple sentence recap that will get you up to speed and also the character page that I love so much in comics.  Just looking at that page made me so happy, but also sad...poor Skisquatch. They make no bones about telling you who the bad guys are,  which characters are dicks and which are the cool kids.  It's like Breakfast Club without detention, a principle and ...okay, it's nothing at all like the Breakfast Club!  It is awesome, though, and got me even more pumped up to begin.

We do begin with The Matador viewing the introductory "This is the Paybacks" film and it's such a smart way to start things off.  He is the newest member so nobody knows much about him and new readers get to find their footing right along with him.  We also meet a new character, Jacob Destruction, who I liked right off the bat.  That's not a big deal since I love every character in this book...even the bad guys and the dicks!

We then move on to an emotional scene for the team and longtime readers...Skisquatch's funeral.  It's quick, however, as we head off to see High Guard (think Superman) going about his normal, everyday, secret identity grocery shopping and we aren't the only ones who know exactly who he is. He is attacked, but gets away in a crazy scene of explosions and ultra-violence that looked amazing.

Back in the Van, Bloodpouch is mourning the loss of his friend and we get a very interesting peek at The Matador and I'm not sure if I like him yet, but damn is he interesting!  He offers to help Bloodpouch in a unique way all while downing drinks served by Bender.  Yes, I said BENDER!!! How can it possibly get better than this?!?

It does by showing how a guy like High Guard deals with losing his secret identity...He declares war on those responsible!  The problem is, it's the Paybacks that he holds responsible.  Not just Zoe, but the whole damn team!!!  Throw into the mix the fact that nobody can find Doctor Blaqk and we have ourselves a humdinger of a problem going on.

The issue ends with Mr. Pierce changing up the terms of being a Payback and it pretty much creates a whole new book going forward.  Awesome!  Also, wait until you see just how many heroes are involved in the Paybacks.  It will blow your mind!

I am so happy this book is back.  The best part, however, is that Eliot Rahal and Donny Cates go beyond that.  They aren't just happy to be back, but are obviously happy to evolve their story to make it fresh and exciting for both new and old readers.  Nothing here is mailed in and I have to say that I am even more excited for this series going forward and I really didn't think that was possible.  Please DC, if you are reading this, sign Cates and Rahal right now and put them on as many books as you can.  Trust me, it will be worth it and if you don't, you will be kicking yourself for years to come!

I spend so much time gushing over the stories, references and characters in this book, but I don't want to neglect Geoff Shaw's art one bit.  The thing is, it meshes with the story so well that it really is an equal part of the storytelling, often setting up a joke or nailing a punch line.  The best part of this book is the characters and Geoff Shaw's character models are every bit a part of that as their origins, interactions and dialogue.

Bits and Pieces:

I know that we are a DC Comics centric site, but I will not lie to any of you...The Paybacks is my favorite comic book.  I loved the first run from Dark Horse, but Eliot Rahal, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw have returned (thanks to Heavy Metal) with a vengeance and everything feels new, exciting and awesome!  I rarely tell people to go out and buy a comic just because I happen to like it, but I beg you to go out right now and get this issue...even if it's just to ensure I get more issues!  Trust me, I am giving it the score it deserves.


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