Rating: 5/5 – Metafictional Story That Delivers the ‘Different’.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
I was first introduced to Airboy in the 1986 Eclipse relaunch series and fell in love with the character as written by Chuck Dixon. Many years later I sought out and bought issues from the original Hillman run in the mid 1940s (a run I’m still working on). The Golden Age Airboy is simpler than his 80s incarnation, but has a certain charm. When I saw that he was being re-imagined again by James Robinson for the current day, I looked on it with a bit of trepidation.
As it turns out, I’m still not sure how Robinson is actually going to handle the character of Airboy. This issue was a metafictional tale about James Robinson trying to figure out how he is going to handle the relaunch of Airboy, and it was brilliant. We get to see Robinson interacting with Image publisher Eric Stephenson (the image of Stephenson’s office was worth the price of admission by itself), interacting with artist Greg Hinkle, and generally bopping around San Francisco on a completely out of control bender whilst struggling with how he’s going to go about writing the series. I like comics that are different. Same old – same old tends to bore me. This brings the difference and I loved it. It was raw, crazy, and unapologetically crass. I make no assumption about it being an accurate portrayal of Robinson’s creative process, but it was a hoot to read the fictionalized process. Artist Greg Hinkle was a wonderful match to Robinson’s narrative. As Robinson’s print Avatar explains it “Your art’s different. I love how it looks and it’s fresh.” I completely agree with him. It certainly makes the book stand out as different from everything else I’m reading, stylistically, and I love that.
This is NOT a book for kids or easily offended adults. This book is about as far away from kid-friendly as you can get. It’s full of language, drug use, nudity; none of it gratuitous. It serves the story Robinson is telling, and defines a mature book. Adult situations that a mature reader can see the ironic humor in and chuckle at occur regularly. This is definitely not a standard Airboy story and my hope is that the rest of the series lives up to this issue. I loved this as a standalone issue. I have absolutely no idea where Robinson is going to go with this after the final page, but I’ll be there for the ride. Regardless of whether you read any other issues in this series, I’d urge you to at least flip though this first issue and see if it looks like the sort of thing you’d enjoy. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for the people it hits the right way, it’s a brilliant example of comics at their best.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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