The upcoming movie may star Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Steve Austin, and Mickey Rourke (among others) but this comic doesn’t star any “likenesses thereof.” Esteve Polls’ art features solid storytelling, but his figures and faces are woefully generic. The characters are not immediately identifiable, nor are they consistently portrayed throughout the issue, often feeling as though one could easily be substituted for the other. The overall appearance of the book is murky, making it tough to determine who’s who as the adventure moves forward.
The characters — who I’m convinced got their names from the recycle bins of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe character naming meetings (Hale Caesar? Yin Yang?! Really?!?) — are tagged upon first appearance, which is a fine concept, but it is just poorly executed here as two characters are identified in complete silhouette. Identifying the characters is a good idea, but there is nothing that distinguishes them one from another save for their weapons of choice (see, again, G.I. Joe toy meetings in effect). It would have been a good idea to tag the character and add in even that fact, “Toll Road – Explosives Expert.”
Dixon lets loose with everything this type of adventure needs. The concept itself is standard issue, but the execution of the concept is over the top, so Dixon puts the dialog over the moon with such gems as, “Your Swahili is weak, man! You speak buckshot?” This is trumped by a conversation comparing explosives to martial arts that ends with Toll Road telling Yin Yang to check out his Kung Pow. No, I am not kidding, and yet I found myself chuckling.
This is loud, silly, goofy, testosterone-infused, guns-blazing, butt-kicking action. This is the type of thing that has solid movie ticket sales, but no one can really explain why.
After the main adventure, the rest of this issue is filled out with a story that sets two of the characters against a gang of car thieves that, naturally, ends poorly for the car thieves, thanks to the bad-assery of these two characters. Basically, one relatively forgettable tale follows another.
I admittedly had low expectations for this book going in, and aside from the couple of chuckles generated by the extreme-action dialog, I was not disappointed. Dixon appears to have had fun with this comic, but there’s nothing worthy of me coming back for more. It’s G. I. Joe-lite, trying to pretend to be “Suicide Squad,” but truly it’s neither.