Debt can suck the life out of anyone . . . including heroes!
Before beginning this review, I went back and read the four issue run of PAYBACKS for reference and I was blown away! The concept is remarkably simple and relevant to modern society. Essentially the main antagonist is debt. The story follows a group of C-list heroes who were delinquent on their debt and forced to work off this debt as “super-repo men.” All of these heroes have failed, they have all hit rock bottom and are now essentially indentured servants to Mr. Pierce.
Issue one takes off in perfect step with the aforementioned prior run. The story begins after the death of Skisquatch and we see a very different Bloodpouch. The prior adventures have Miss Adventure pleading with Veronica to get her out of the group and we finally get to find out what was on the thumb drive Night Knight retrieved.
The book is full of analogues to characters even casual comic fans would recognize. The creator’s address this with High Guard, describing him as “Kinda like Superman, but if Superman was a dick.” I could point out multiple others but that is one of the most endearing parts of the book. I found myself returning and combing through the panels to find all the easter eggs, including Bender from Futurama!
The writing is well paced and leads the reader into the story so well you could jump on the title in this first issue and not feel lost. Geoff Shaw’s art is gorgeous in my opinion and will be in my print collection along with the trade of the original four issue run.
It is great news for comic book fans this title was picked up by Heavy Metal and I certainly would recommend this book and will be adding it to my pull list for sure. Cates has indicated there will be a definitive third act in this title, but I am not sure how I feel about this. I am already invested in these characters and part of me doesn’t want to see a complete resolution. Perhaps this is because the relatability of debt knows no bounds?
Writing: 4 Stars
Art: 4 Stars
Writer: Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal
Art: Geoff Shaw
Colors: Dee Cunniffe
Letters: Taylor Esposito