I love conflicts of interest. I love the sound they make as you run up towards them and they smack you in the face.
So anyway, William Christensen of Avatar, Bleeding Cool’s owners, sent me the first three issues of inks of the new Absolution series by Christos Gage and Daniel Gete and asked me to write about them, whatever I thought.
Thankfully I like them.
When we last left the series, John Dusk had had his sins found out. A super-powered policeman with a Green Lantern power set, working alongside a number of others, he had turned Dexter-style serial killer, murdering those who slipped through the system or for whom a prison sentence would not have seemed fit punishment.
He was found out, he was captured, he was tried and… he was freed. By one of his co-workers.
So now what?
Absolution Rubicon. The moment where you pass the point of no return.
We open in a court case, with leading criminals getting their cases overturned because they relied on evidence gathered by Dusk which was now tainted. So they get to walk Scott free. And then John Duck kills them. And that’s where I thought this comic was going until all the criminals suddenly decide they like staying in jail.
But that’s when the comic shifted, because a power play between politicians over who is in charge, why the rule of law matters to some more than other, and the moral compromises made by all sides, some with beneficial effects, some not. And because this is Avatar, a decision is made, the consequences of which sees soldiers ripper apart and their bodies strewn up on a fairy chain for display.
Sometimes it’s a good thing just to see the art without the colour added. Seriously, I’m eating here. It’s also a pleasure to see the unencumbered line of Gete, who gives us some remarkable “acting” scenes, so much character portrayed in the body language of people who are, well, just standing there. No short cuts here, the characters live and breathe on the page.
There’s also the matter of Happy Kitty, who is Hit Girl turned up to the max and thrown through Japanese pop culture. Which, in this case, means a young girl swinging samurai swords with panty shots. The comparisons with Hit Girl are amped up in this second series, as she is inspired by Dusk to join him. Oh and we also get a Batman analogue by way of The Punisher called The Urban Legend. And we have our own Trinity, just without a Superman. Because we have that in a really big bad guy.
And that’s the balance we have. Three bad guys trying to be good guys, condemned by the powers-that-be but appreciated by their underlings. And a Superman, destroying everything, yet sanctioned by the guys on top.
It’s a power play. And because this isn’t the DCU, no matter how much it resembles it in part, anything can happen. And probably will.
Absolution Rubicon #1 is published in full color by Avatar Press in June.