Thursday, May 23, 2013


It’s hard to discuss this book, mostly because it’s just a sample of a bigger graphic novel that is scheduled to be published later.  There is a lot going on within these pages, but not enough of the plot is revealed to be fairly talked about.

An orphanage kid by the name of Smash is one day cornered by his fellow orphans, who think he’s a good target to be bullied.  They are wrong, because he’s a savage fighter.  He throws a rock at the head of one of them, and he breaks a bottle across the face of another.  These actions bring him to the attention of Maurice, who recruits soldiers for the Horde.  He hangs out in places like this because he knows some of the best warriors are those who have already lost their families.

Maurice takes Smash under his wing, and before long, Smash has grown up to be an operative.  His mission?  To retrieve a serum from a mad scientist.  What is the serum?  It’s never explained, but it is dangerous.  Where will this lead us?  Who knows?

Writers Vlad Yudin and Erik Hendrix are ruthless in their depiction of violence.  Smash is very good at it, and where he walks, he leaves blood and broken bones in his wake.  They’ve created an interesting character in an interesting situation, and while it’s a nice tease to interest readers into buying the complete book, it’s not enough.

Well, maybe.  The character is certainly captivating enough, but the stakes are so unclear it’s hard to gauge how eager a reader would be to continue Smash’s adventures.  However, there is a great moment when Maurice kills a traitor, and with his face still spattered with blood from the kill, he starts eating ice cream.  Very funny, and very unsettling.

Artist Dwayne Harris is the perfect match for this work.  He hits all the right marks, and he makes everything look as nasty as it needs to be.  His style with blood is a little bit forced, except when Maurice kills the traitor, but this is a minor quibble.

It looks like this book is going places, and it’s definitely worth checking out.

Written by Vlad Yudin and Erik Hendrix
Illustrated by Dwayne Harris
Published by Arcana
20 pages


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