FIVE WEAPONS/TALES FROM BEYOND SCIENCE
Written and Drawn by Jimmie Robinson
Written by Mark Millar, John Smith and Alan McKenzie and Drawn by Rian Hughes
Published by Image Comics
Reviewed by Marc Mason
One of the most difficult questions a creator can wrestle with is “Now what?” For writer/artist Jimmie Robinson, it would pertain to his next move after seven full volumes of his sex and violence satire, BOMB QUEEN. Robinson devoted years to the Queen and her saga, and he took the story to fascinating and unusual places. But what to do for an encore? More in that satirical vein? Or the road less traveled. Thankfully, he chose option number two, and we get FIVE WEAPONS #1. Here we meet Tyler Shainline, the son of two master assassins, as he arrives for his first day of school at a private academy full of the children of other killers. As part of his education, Tyler will have to join one of five student clubs, each devoted to a different discipline or death dealing device. But as the story progresses, we learn that there is much more to young Tyler than meets the eye, particularly as it seems that he does not like to use weapons at all. Robinson’s new book is effortlessly charming, full of likeable characters, some nifty plotting, and a number of solid surprises in the story itself. It’s also friendly for all readers, moving away from the hardcore aspects of BQ. Robinson has always been one of comics’ best artists, as he has a strong line, a good sense of storytelling, and his ability to convey facial expressions and body language is top-notch. I liked this book very much, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
I love the artwork of Rian Hughes, so I was pleased to see TALES FROM BEYOND SCIENCE cross my desk. This collection brings together a series of short stories drawn by Hughes that appeared in the great 2000 A.D. back in the early 90s. Working with writers Mark Millar, John Smith, and Alan McKenzie, Hughes put to page a number of fun tales that have a bit of a Twilight Zone feel to them. Weird science, brutal ironies, horrific comeuppances… these stories took the classic genre tropes and gave them interesting life. I was particularly fond of “The Man Who Created Space,” a charmingly nihilistic look at the philosophical questions we have about the universe we live in that has a wonderfully grim answer. But more than anything, I just loved looking at Hughes’ work, whether it was in the stories themselves or the mocked-up covers for comics that never actually existed. If you’re looking for something cool and off the beaten path, I recommend this one.