Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Legacy of Luther Strode #1 review

Back in 2011, writer Justin Jordan, artist Tradd Moore, and colorist Felipe Sobreiro introduced the world to Luther Strode. Think Spider-Man meets Kick-Ass, throw in a lot of totally over-the-top gore and you pretty much have a decent understanding of this character. Luther and his girlfriend, Petra, have gone through a lot of craziness in the past two limited series, but now their story is apparently coming to an end. The Legacy of Luther Strode is expected to be the last chapter in Luther's tale, and thankfully, it's off to a ridiculously fun start.

When it comes to the bigger picture, Jordan isn't giving too much away. We get just a bit of insight into the big villain and then it's mostly a character-driven experience as Luther and Petra once again find themselves in all kinds of madness. You can tell there's a couple of building blocks for bigger plot elements in the issue, but this one really is all about telling us who Petra and Luther are and seeing what they're capable of. If you've been with them since the very beginning (if so, let's be friends because that makes you awesome), this is going to be a really rewarding and fun read. Petra's confidence and badassery has shot through the roof and Strode is doing his best Superman impression. He used to have no real problem obliterating any evil person in his way, but now he'll do his best not to kill a murderer who clearly cannot be reasoned with. With great power and all that, right? While Luther tends to be reserved, Petra's the polar opposite. It makes their relationship pretty adorable and considering how it's handled in this issue, I can't shake the feeling that one of them is going to die before this limited series concludes. Hopefully I'm wrong on that one, but if I'm not, I'm pretty confident that Jordan wouldn't give either of them a pointless and/or disappointing death.

The action in Luther Strode's comics are usually full of totally absurd and excessive amounts of bloodshed and brutality. They always embrace that and don't hold back at all. While there are more than a few twisted and amusing examples of this in the issue (someone kicks through a poor dude's head!), a lot of the ridiculous action is showing off just how powerful and dangerous these enhanced characters can be. Luther pulls off some insane feats in this one and watching two of these formidable beings leap around is a real blast. We may not be getting too much of the story just yet, but that won't be on your mind because you'll likely be loving every second of the purposely outrageous mayhem.
Tradd Moore's overly animated style obviously won't be for everyone -- art is subjective, after all -- but I continue to love it. I think his exaggerated character work is such a delight and it fills these fictional beings with so much life. None of the panels feel static to me; they're all packed with energy and emotion. And when the action kicks in, this guy sure knows how to bring it. I'm sure there's plenty of artists out there who could bring their own satisfying take on Luther Strode, but the way Moore escalates all of the impacts and motions is simply brilliant and it allows Luther Strode to stand apart from all of the countless other action-heavy titles that are out there. It's purposely all kinds of over-the-top and it's so damn exciting! There's a lot on Moore's plate in this one and he never appears to slack off or rush. Whether it's a giant army getting slaughtered in the past or a ludicrous pile-up, it all looks equally impressive. To top it off, there's a handful of creative sequences to enjoy in here. One is displayed above ( he allows the reader to move from one car right into the next one) and there's another memorable bit in a restaurant. I won't spoil that one for you!

I'm sure Moore's pages look terrific on their own, but colorist Sobreiro does an amazing job enhancing them and he fills this world with bold colors. There's a lot of strong contrasts here (as you can see above) and I especially love how the sparks are handled; it really makes the action feel more intense and gives you a better appreciation of some of the movements. All in all, Moore's style is perfect for Strode's world and Sobreiro's coloring is seriously praiseworthy and fills it with even more vitality. Thanks to these two, this comic doesn't feel like I'm looking at still images. Instead, it gives me a proper understanding of how everything would play out in motion. Thank to their work, I'm pretty much getting a Luther Strode animated movie in my head while I read the comic and I absolutely love that.

The debut issue of Luther Strode's final volume offers all of the crazy fun you'd expect from it. The bigger picture is off to a bit of a slow start, but that hardly matters when there's such an entertaining focus on Luther and Petra's relationship, consistently enjoyable and striking artwork, and a huge amount of thrilling and delightfully over-the-top action. It's good to have you back in my life, Luther Strode.

4 comments:

  1. Awesome review for an awesome book!

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    1. Thanks for reading the review, Michael! And yeah, here's hoping the rest of the volume is every bit as awesome as this one is!

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  2. I loved the book. Great review, Gregg.

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