Writer: Jonathan Ross
Artist: Ian Churchill
Letterers: Richard Starkings & Jimmy Betancourt
Colorist: Arif Prianto with Ian Churchill
Review by: Josh Gillam
Revenge is a comic that is intended for mature readers only, as it contains a good deal of nudity, strong language, and extreme gore. That being said, this is a pretty awesome book. With a great story and amazing artwork, it lays the groundwork for what promises to be a thrilling tale of revenge.
The primary character in this book is an actor named Griffin Franks. Griffin is a washed up action hero actor that is past his prime, much like the cast of The Expendables movie franchise. He has just made a big come back by returning to the biggest role he’s ever played; the Revenger. However, this big comeback isn’t the first we see of Griffin in the comic. The first time we see him, his face is being peeled off by a surgeon, and his he is still awake and able to feel everything, but he cannot move or speak.
This book then goes back and forth between flashbacks and the surgery, and it is through the flashbacks we find out that the surgery Griffin is enduring was supposed to be a sort of age reduction. He is betrayed though, and the surgery essentially turns into a form of torture. There are details about the betrayal that I won’t go into, as to not ruin it for readers. The flashbacks also give background on Griffin and his return to fame, and his desperation to not lose it again. You see that he isn’t a very nice person and has wronged many people, which makes it hard to feel sorry for him when he is being tortured. The book ends with a faceless and paralyzed Griffin swearing revenge on those that had betrayed him.
I was thoroughly impressed with the story that Jonathan Ross delivers. Revenge tales nowadays tend to be overdone and stale, so I had my concerns going into this book. Ross manages to keep away from the cliches that you’d expect to see in a revenge tale and presents a thrilling read. The primary character was very well written also. Throughout the book I felt myself constantly trying to decide whether I should love or hate him. He’s very complex and it makes the story that much more intriguing.
The artwork was fantastic, and quickly made me fall in love with this book. You don’t normally expect to see artwork of a skinless face and think, “wow, that’s just beautiful”, but that’s how I felt. There were little things throughout the book that made the artwork really stand out to me. One of my favorites was that there would be blood splattered across some of the flashback panels just before it transitioned back to the operation. And in some of the flashback panels, random characters would be skinless or look mutilated. The artwork overall was a great companion to the story.
Revenge is a real page turner and is sure to please any gore fans out there. This series is off to a fantastic start, and I’m looking forward to what Ross and Churchill have in store for us.
Josh Gillam is the creator and writer for the webcomic/comedy project, Cynical Stew. You can follow him on Twitter at @Cynical_Stew.