Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CBR Bad Ass 2

To celebrate the upcoming release of Bad Ass through a translation at Dynamite Publishing, let's have a review of the second volume for this occasion!

For other great French comics, check these following reviews:

Comic title: Bad Ass - 2. The voice
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 might ask?

Simply said, Bad Ass is a French "Superhero" bande dessinée.

Created by Bruno Bessadi, Herik Hanna and Gaëtan George, it's both a tribute to the genre and a satire of modern American comic books. A love letter to all the gritty comics from the mid-1980s to the modern pseudo-realistic superheroes from the 2010s.

And it's way over the top and pretty fun to boot!

This is 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 of their own.

Bad Ass follows a bunch of super villains in a world where superheroes do exist.

The first trade followed Dead End, a mercenary hitman, part-Deadpool and part-Kick-Ass.

Like the previous volume, the overall plot can be narrowed down into two parallel narratives, one taking place in the past and the other in the present.

The story in this second trade is not a direct follow-up in terms of story, instead the book focuses on another character. The story jumps back and forth between a flashback starting at the end of the 1980s and a psychiatric facility at present day.

In 1987, we are introduced to a little girl named Sophie Bisset. Sophie has a gift, she can read other people's mind as well as a certain control of telekinesis around her.

Since she was able to read adults thoughts since a young age, she was forced to mature a little to quick resulting in a little girl estranged from the real world. Victims start following her wherever she goes as she decides to strike back at liars and adults who fear her.

To avoid any further killings, she is taken into a special school for young gifted children. The facility is led by mind specialist and high-level telepath Doctor Spirit.

There, Sophie learns how to control her powers and keep her emotions in check. She quickly grows stronger and more powerful than her mentor.

But Spirit keeps trying, believing to be able to "fix" her. But something's deeply wrong with Sophie...

Back in present day, this little telephatic girl has joined a secret organization from the Government and has since become The Voice, with powers surpassing every possible imagination.

Long story short, Sophie is able to escape manipulating people who wanted her dead. Just as Dead End arrives at the asylum to break her free.

Along the way we are introduced to Master of Pain (a sadomasochist take on the Hulk!) and the Destroyer (an Iron Man parody) in his shiny new MKII suit comes back from the first volume to take his revenge on Dead End. It all turns badly, obviously.

They even met a Joker-analog, Psycho-Clown, who is quite sad by his arch-nemesis death back in volume 1.

The first volume of Bad Ass helped launch "Comics Fabric" at Delcourt, the line for "comics made in Europe". Offering Franco-Belgium-style bande dessinées in the style of American comics.

It was a surprising success.

It took about 8 months to finally get the next volume!

This is a very violent and graphic over-the-top book, with some humor. There's lot of references to the comic book world (and others, such as a Tim Schafer-inspired psychiatrist and "Iron Man" upgrading to a new RoboCop-like armor).

Bad Ass was created by writer Herik Hannah who really seems to be having a lot of fun with this title. They had a great idea to focus on these crazy colorful villains rather than your usual heroes.

Following this young woman The Voice here, they are not only able to give some spotlight to another fun character but also expand on this new world they are building.

The Asylum which was only mentioned in the first volume takes a center place this time. Hannahis shaping a corner of his universe, bit by bit.

The Voice as well as Master of Pain were already alluded in the first episode.

There are a lot of fun little details inspired by more popular Marvel or DC character (such as Doctor Spirit, between a Charles Xavier and a Doctor Strange). Take the SWARD for example, sort of the local SHIELD (with a hint of A.I.M.).

Similarly, the art from Bruno Bessadi is very good. He has a great unique style, perfectly fitting for this universe. He has no problem adapting to the American format. Great coloring and art, this all makes Bad Ass looks and feels like a real US comics.

Playing with tropes of the genre and dynamic sequences (there's even a pretty Millar-esque crazy double-spread page near the end... the less said the better..).

Overall, it's a great looking book and a smart story. With some great action and tension, highly entertaining!

Once more, Bad Ass is always a fun read. It's a genre parody, embraced with a touch more humor than some of Mark Millar recent work (for comparison).

Great news for my overseas friends, Dynamite just started releasing a translation! The choice of editor is a bit surprising considerings Dynamite lineup, I was expecting Vertigo (Marzi), Image Comics or Icon. (does Icon even still exist?)

For the American release, they will be cutting down the graphic novel into 4 issues... but worry not! It was clearly structured as a 4-chapters story (planned for the American release?).

My only real complaint is... that it's too bad the series is only planned for 4 volumes. So many villains show up in this episode, and I believe they each could support and deserve a spotlight on their own.

The head of the SWARD, simply known as The Boss, will be the focus of the next episode!

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Tintins!


  1. I like how the dude in the mask and the hulk looking guy are just casually strolling through a hallway, like, "what? no big deal." XD

    1. the heroes in this book (I mean the supervillains) have this whole superiority compared to both superheroes or the authority. nothing scares or surprise them, hence the "Bad Ass" title :P

      You should definitively check it out when Dynamite starts releasing the translated issues!