Saturday, April 6, 2013

CBR Bad Ass

And here's my 100th Comic Book Review! Hooray!

On this very special occasion, I'd like to finally start reviewing comics other than American ones. Franco-belgium comics, Mangas, anything goes from now on!

But let's start on something not that far, for starters. You've seen a lot of comics imitating mangas, right? Well, here's one for the books. A Bande Dessinée that mimics US Superhero comics!

Comic title: Bad Ass - 1. Dead end
Art by Bruno Bessadi
Written by Herik Hanna

Published by Comics Fabric/Delcourt
From 2013
Lineup Bad Ass
Format: Graphic Novel.

What is Bad Ass, you ask?

Bad Ass is, simply put, a French Superhero comics. Created by Bruno Bessadi, Herik Hanna and Gaëtan George, what some might think of a simple spoof is actually a well done tribute to the genre. It's not overly mocking American comics, but really a loving letter to all the gritty comics from the 1980s and the over the top modern superheroes from the 2000s.

Think of it as part-Watchmen, part-Kick-Ass.

And it's not done by a bunch of novices, but some well renowned authors that grew up with the genre. Fans that wanted to have some fun with the idea.

Bruno Bessadi's personal favorite is after all "The Killing Joke" by Brian Bolland and Alan Moore.

And it feels like it, there's a bit of Moore's Watchmen in here, as well as some Dark Knight from Frank Miller and Long Halloween by Tim Sale & Jeph Loeb.

Jack Parks was just a nobody.

When he was a teenager, he looked nerdy, had so many pimples over his face, big glasses and all. Bullied, mocked, he had no one to turn to...but didn't care one bit.

But this is no tale of redemption and our hero didn't turn his life over to become a hero.

This is the tale of an ultimate badass.

After an accident gone wrong with his tormentor, and some extensive surgery, Jack went from zero to hero! And decided to make most of it.

Now doted with an unnatural luck and good looks, he's striking back at all those adults he hated, all those jerks at school that annoyed him. He now is Dead End. A mysterious supervillain, an annoyance to both organized crime and the polices forces!

Bad Ass is a real "American superhero comics", only made by French dudes.

It's also the first book to open the all-new inprint from French publisher Delcourt called Comics Fabric. Yes, they are now trying to explore this new direction with several more books.

Bad Ass is less trashy and vulgar than some of its inspirations, yet funnier than regular mainstream superheroes comics. It certainly helps that the art is fun, humorous at times and the coloring is bright and colorful.

The book has some fun with the stereotypes of the genres and tropes expected in the superhero genre. Mutants are here over the top like the Green Dragon ("Dragon Vert"). Or not-quite-subtle allusions like Catwoman I mean Amadeus Kitty.

The story keeps alternating between the flashbacks that introduces the past of our "hero" ub 1977 and the present day in Roman City, where local vigilante Batman Black Snake protects the streets.

Bad Ass was announced as a 4 volumes story. The first 2 books are for the introduction of our main characters and it's planned to develop in the 3rd one to conclude over the last 4th volume.

It will be continued in 2. The Voice later this year.

What is and what isn't "comics" (and by that I mean "drawn strips" of the American variety) isn't that explicitly clear. But this Bad Ass here mimics quite well the format, uses the same kind of pages breakdowns and follows a rather similar art direction.

Dead End's humor is quite close to Deadpool's.

It's a very fun and entertaining book, a real Bad Ass.

Overall, I loved it! Really fun and original.

Modern Deadpool done right.

The drawings want themselves "US comics", with a light European touch. (the hand drawn speechbubbles and text at least in the original French-language)

Fans of the genre will love it no doubt! The realistic style, the black humor, the over the top situations... The story is rather simple for this first volume, but a real page turner no less!

My only complaint is that so little actually happens in this first volume.

Bad Ass served to launch an entire "American-inspired" line at French publisher Delcourt.

For now it's only available in French. The book was just released, although I can imagine a translation following quickly. It has some real potential, so you guys over the ocean should expect it at some point. I mean you got Blacksad at Dark Horse and they even translated Marzi for Vertigo Comics.

Great art, I already love the setting of this story. For fans of the superhero genre or newcomers alike. It's a fun experiment, particularly well executed.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Tintins!

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