Action Lab’s Banjax 1 is due out next week so let’s take a look at it.
This is a comic book for mature readers, no doubt about that, with scenes of sexual violence. In fact, of the eight preview pages, Geek Native could show of the comic in this post, only seven will be.
Banjax is by Ryland Grant, who also writes Aberrant, and was once on American Ninja Warrior and did well enough to write about physical feats with a better authority than most.
A gritty deconstruction of the traditional superhero story in which we recap on the life choices Liard Mason makes. Now he’s a disgraced superhero and banned by a court order from ever wearing his costume again.
Despite seeing all the mistakes, Mason has made and knowing the reasons for his lack of empathy, his fate feels fitting. He’s lucky not to be behind bars. Perhaps not for the one incident that tipped public opinion against him, but for the deceitfulness and double standards that make him an unworthy judge, jury and executioner.
On that note; Banjax is most recognised by his helmet-like mask, one that covers his face… but it’s not a full Judge Dredd, you don’t see his jaw and, amazingly, he takes it off. The world knows Liard Mason was the super-powered Banjax.
While the court order against him, the prohibition on roaming the streets with his face covered, feels fair the blow life gives him does not.
A life of fighting crime and use of his super-powers have given him cancer.
What’s Banjax’s reaction to the terminal diagnosis? How does a superhero vigilante with only three months left to live respond?
Banjax unleashes a violent purge of crime. He calls it cancer, and he appoints himself the cure.
I love the work of Fabio Alves and Edson Ferreira. Alves is the artist and cover artist. Ferfeira, the colourist. There’s a grim reality to each panel, an inventive mix of darkness with hints of light at times. A reflection of the Banjax story? Perhaps. If so, then we should take note that when there is the most light in a panel, it usually comes from flames.
I’ve only read issue 1, and there’s a costume choice I don’t get and which intrigues me. Banjax’s mask as a red cross over the mouthpiece. Is he saying he’s been silenced? It was there before the court order against him.
As it happens, the mask is an evolution of the one he picked up on his first (or second, depending on what you measure) act of vigilanteism. That original mask had a prominent smiling grin. Is the red cross a comment on that? Is Banjax’s helm saying that crime won’t get a word in?
the fact that I don’t get the red cross only improves my experience of Banjax. It’s not a negative. It’s a mystery. I’m sure future issues will either reveal the truth or give me some clues.
It’s a compelling, mature, issue one. I’d absolutely read a second.
My copy of Banjax volume 1 was provided for review.