I’ve never really been a big Rob Liefeld fan. His art was good on the “Hawk & Dove” miniseries from 1988, but from there he really pushed his style to be so far over the top that it just became absurd. I could go on, but the internet is filled with all sorts of commentary regarding Liefeld’s art. Heck, I’m sure you have your own opinion.
I’m here to tell you that you just might want to put that opinion off to the side and give this book a chance. Yes, I’m being serious.
This book is as classic a Rob Liefeld story as you could want, with weird weapons, overly endowed characters, shoulder pads, and time travel. The time travel explanations alone are enough to fill this book, but the buddy-flick aspect behind the time travel story lets Robert Kirkman break loose with a story of brothers in arms.
This book is making a strong case for Liefeld’s art to be celebrated for its over-the-top ambition and impractical nature. If comic books were made solely to be absurd and bombastic, then this comic book definitely hits the mark based solely on Liefeld’s art. There is an Image “I” built into the armor of Bowen’s armor, just to add to the absurdity of it all. This book looks like an Image Comics book from the early days of the publisher, and it is a fine legacy addition.
Kirkman knows just how to get the most from Liefeld’s art, crafting a story that gives Liefeld a chance to play around with panel structure and page layouts. Kirkman goes beyond that mark, however, and pours crazy comic book science into this book. There’s image scramblers and time travel machines aplenty as a pair of resistance fighters – Case and Bowen – set out to take down their nemesis, Imperius. Imperius has taken over the world, but insists that it is for the good of the world itself. Imperius gets a bit Darth Vaderish in his declaration of his choices for the betterment of all, but no villain actually sets out to be evil, right?
Fans of Liefeld are going to find a lot to like in this book, and even some detractors are sure to find a story that is thick and engaging. Kirkman and Liefeld play off each other’s strengths well enough to conceal any perceived weaknesses. I didn’t expect to like this book when I picked it up, but I’m certainly glad I did nab it. It’s an entertaining read that is refreshing in its self-indulgence.