Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Highwaymen

Written by Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman
Art by Lee Garbett

When this comic originally came out, I remember it getting a lot of positive press on the internet. Reading it in trade, I can see why this book was well-received. It's a high energy action movie in comic form, but done properly, and without giving in to too much Hollywood excess.

Mr. McQueen and Able Monroe were heroes back in the day - the Highwaymen. They seem to have been a mix of the Avengers (think Mr. Steed without Emma Peel), Knight Rider (if Kit couldn't talk and David Hasselhoff had a friend), and Power Man and Iron Fist, with a dash of James Bond. If that makes sense to you...

So, these two guys have been retired for years, except something has happened which has triggered the delivery of a message from a long-dead Bill Clinton, bringing them back into the field for one last mission: to find a young girl and take her to the Centre for Disease Control.

There are groups of guys in suits chasing them (some are enhanced), and they get to drive around in a very cool car full of cool gadgets. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about this series, but the authors manage to strike a nice balance between humour, action, and a dash of political conspiracy. It is a good ride.

Lee Garbett's art looks very nice here. The only other time I've read his work was on a Batman or Detective fill-in, where it was just okay. Here, he seems to be more confident. His facial expressions remind me a lot of Frank Quitely, but seen through a filter of Giuseppe Camuncoli. I would like to see more of his work in this vein.

My only complaint with this trade is that they don't include all of the original series covers, which is a shame as they are by Brian Stelfreeze, whose work I usually enjoy quite a bit. That is a beef with me - it can't be cost-prohibitive to add five or six pages to a trade paperback, and so the covers should always be included.

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