Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Contract #1 & #2 - A Review

Contract #1 & #2
Publisher First Salvo Productions
Created by Garan Madieros
Story by Garan Madieros & Charles Shell
Art Dave Ross. Sal Vallutto, Kevin Sharpe, Mark McKenna, Ariel Padilla
Colors Mad, Fusion

The premise is pretty straight forward. We have a trio of mercenaries that is set in a Fifth Element / Blade Runner type of future who have taken a contract to try and save a little girl who was taken hostage. In this future corporate hostage taking is common, but the ransom was paid and the little girl wasn’t returned. Her father is offering a relatively meager payment (all he can afford) and posting a mercenary contract, which Jessie the leader of our trio takes in a moment of weakness.

Jessie is a beautiful and heroic proportion woman who is the leader of the group. The second member of the group is Tsumi, who is the high tech guy and swordsman. The third member is Panzer and he is the brute force guy, who has cybernetic enhancements and provides much of the comic relief, either by comment or being the punch line of a joke.

I was all prepared to toss this story off to the side and complain it was too generic, too derivative, too this or too that, but while it certainly has some that going on, what is really has is a high octane, action pack, fast paced, action/adventure with great dialogue that makes you laugh or at least smile as you are reading it.

Comparing this to the Fifth Element is a valid comparison as it is an outlandish, over the top futuristic action/adventure that delivers on the fun and delivers a great story.

The first issue is an extra long affair that not only focuses on the main story but gives us a nice little short tale of the trio talking down a bad guy in a bar. The bar fight hasJessie telling their mark that she will take him out with just her scarf and then Panzer nails him with his cybernetic hand. The bartender says to her you lied and she just acknowledges that she did and smiles leaving with their contracted job.

The main story is the type of story you have and have not seen before. What you have seen is the kind hearted mercenary taking a job for too little pay that seems pretty easy. Of course the job has turned into a convoluted mess that is taking them up against of sorts of enemies, including cybernetic armored foes who are feed a VR fantasy world. That way if a person is basically a good guy he sees himself as knight and the people he goes up against as demons and such things. After Tsumi hacks into the system the results are very amusing and make for some great scenes in the comic.

By the end of issue two you are having so much fun with this group you can’t wait to see even more of them. All fiction is derivative and this book certainly has a lot of different influences and has some clich├ęs, but the idea is to tell a story well and to make something entertaining. Contract delivers a fast paced, action packed thrill ride that is flat out entertaining and a fun read.

The artwork was by many different artists, but was surprising consistent given how many artists were credited. This book has dynamic panel layouts, faced paced page designs, clean line work and a solid coloring job that just added to the great look of this book.

I read different books to derive different things out of them. I read Scalped for a good crime noir type story, I read Batman for some super hero adventure, Secret Invasion to complain about Marvel, Fall of Cthulhu for horror and on and on. But often I want to read a book that just is entertaining and a fun filled fantastic adventure and that book is Contract.

Bottom Line – If you enjoyed Fifth Element and want a great fast paced entertaining action / adventure, get a bag of popcorn and open up Contract.

Theses are the Diamond Order Codes for Issues #1 & #2

MAY08 3541F CONTRACT #1 (OF 3) $3.99

JUN08 3608F CONTRACT #2 (OF 3) $2.99

Guaranteed enjoyment will ensure – this offer should not be used while driving and may cause smile crease lines on your face making you want to get botox injections before your time. Your results may vary from the control group. This is not a legal notice required by anyone but hopefully will make you actual go out and order this book.

Lee will return tomorrow

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