Created, Written, Drawn, and Owned by Kaare Andrews
Published by Image Comics
Kaare Andrews is an enormously creative artist, dazzling in some of the supernatural aspects of New Mutants in the 2000’s or the more recent Iron Fist. With the double-sized first issue of Renato Jones, Andrews turns his flair for the mystic toward the struggle between socioeconomic classes, and the result is an action movie that bleeds dark fantasy.
The story is pretty straightforward at first – Renato Jones is a good-hearted child of unbelivable wealth and privilege. He’s meeting with a scummy hedge fund manager on a yacht when The Freelancer attacks, continuing a violent war on the rich. Quiet moments allow for a collection of heartbreaking flashbacks and twists of identity – some, you are going to see coming because you have ever read a comic book. Others will take you by surprise.
What sets this book apart from the violent social commentary of a Mark Millar book (besides the fact that it isn’t already in pre-production casting) is the artist’s commitment to the visual experience. Kaare Andrews is not afraid to commit six pages to tell three panels of a flashback because he knows that the reader will feel gutted at the third panel. The sequences in present day conform to the lines of real life, but Andrews is adept at color and shadow to pull intense drama from a simple dinner party scene. Flashbacks get distorted in ways that feel so right – the children telling the memory are impossibly small; the bad guy adults are nightmares of proportion. This book is not some bratty liberal arts major whining about paying a student loan and drunk on his own wit as he sticks it to the man with his social commentary – trust me, the man is not reading this. This is an artist who wants to talk about what scares us. Right now, we’re scared of being ruled by rich monsters, and he beautifully ties the hedge fund managers to the creatures under our beds.
Come on down to Ultimate Comics and get started on what promises to be a gorgeous, scary ride. And if you wait until Saturday, any purchase made on Free Comic Book Day comes with a free Ulti-Mite print!
-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics