Image Comics | The Family Trade #1 | Written by Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan | Art by Morgan Beem | Letters by Rachel Deering
The Family Trade #1 features something fresh in the art department from Morgan Beem and a semi-relatable storyline (key villain, at least) from Justin Jordan and Nikki Ryan.
Beem's art is straight up like watercolor that shines whether in dialogue-heavy scenes or ones that feature main character Jessa Wynn plunging from building to building evading dozens of evil thugs. Her work feels unique, risky and worth it, as it reminds me of the insert sea stories from the original Watchmen in a way.
It's fun stuff that is puncuated and sent home by the back-to-basics coloring job in keeping the same seemingly set number of colors to each page. Refreshingly consistent.
As for Jordan and Ryan, these two have crafted an interesting lead in Jessa Wynn, the youngest member of "The Family," in that she is self-aware, confident, funny, relatable and kickass woman, who is painted, heh punny, as being a little over her head.
After an internal struggle during a botched assassination attempt of our vaguely Donald Trump-like main villain, Jessa delivers the awesome lines of "while I am reasonable awesome, I can't fight this many thugs" and "I guess I should follow the 15-pound barrel of attitude (a cat)."
Jessa is part of The Family, which is literally a family, that overlooks The Family Trade's setting in The Float. The Float is a neutral entity floating in the ocean that serves as the center for commerce and diplomacy for "the Atlantic world, the whole world, really."
She decides not to kill our Trumpian villain and later finds herself at a campaign rally that is grabbed straight from reality. This is where I start to lose interest in the villain, which might stem from me actually covering real politics in real life.
The character is painted as an egotistically, temperamental blowhard that is urging people to take back what is theirs and to "Make the float glorious again." Not trying to hate, just feel that alienating readers whether you agree with them or not isn't the best option; that's what a Twitter account is for.
Still, Jordan and Ryan have built the foundation on innovative, different artwork and a super interesting and well-executed main character. There is a lot of room here to grow. Jordan writes at the end of the issue's pages that the idea for this book stems from a joke between himself and Nikki Ryan.
"Nikki's cousin was jetting around Europe for what I would consider to be extremely vague reasons," he writes of The Family Trade's origins. "Given that Nikki's cousin is one of the nicest people I've ever met, I reached the obvious conclusion that she was in fact an international assassin."
Rating: 8/10 Red watermarked noses
Any debut issue with an interesting setting and a witty, self-aware, badass female lead character is going to reel me in. The Trumpian main character will justifiably push some away, but Jordan and Ryan have built the foundation for a solid, solid series in The Family Trade.