Comic Review: Renato Jones: Freelancer #1

There’s nobody creating comics quite like Kaare Andrews right now.

Andrews is a storyteller, a creator who has a fantastic combination of narrative and visual skills that work so damn well together. His first creator-owned series, Renato Jones, was the culmination of his years of excellence, and we at the Court gobbled it up greedily. Hell, most consumers did as well, with the book receiving multiple prints.

And now Season 2 has finally arrived, and Andrews is still manipulating the medium on an advanced level (thank God).

We’d talked to Andrews before about how he wants to use comics to their fullest effect when telling a story, using art techniques that are part Jim Steranko and part Jack Kirby, and his slick art maintains that attitude: he does things here one can only do in a comic book.

Andrews uses the early grayscale color palate to create an air of post-terrorist attack horror littered with sound effect backdrops. He also sporadically uses color in the effects during the early sequence of events, making them pop off the page. Letterer and designer Jeff Powell really shines with his choices on sound effects, not to mention his sublime word balloons - It's the perfect compliment to the organized chaos happening all around. 

He also manipulates POV to a devastatingly good effect. As an example, I have to post the next picture, which follows one of Wicked Awesome's razor drones as it follows Bliss and Renato.

This is some next-level cinematic shit, which seems appropriate considering Andrews’ background in film.

The previously mentioned art (which again is alternatingly frenetic and heart-breaking) should not overshadow the story, which sees Renato on the verge of frothing madness at the thought of Wicked Awesome hurting bliss. The fight between the two meta-combatants is as savage as the emotions between Bliss and Renato are intimate, and Andrews uses short, poetic captions to give palpable life to Renato’s inner dialogue.

And by the way, Wicked Awesome has quickly become a favorite fictional character of mine. He’s equal parts Batman and Iron Man, mixed together with a generous helping of entitled frat boy, and served with a side of psycho. His dialogue is comedic masculine mouth farts, completely detached from reality. This character is a living power fantasy for a 12-year-old, a middle school cool given tech and a cape. Of course I love him.

Honestly, I could go another 1,000 words about Renato Jones: Freelancer #1, but that would be an injustice to this comic. From the awe-inspiring Spawn Variant to the progression of the plot to the insane action choreography, Andrews is back with a vengeance. This is arguably the best-looking action book in stores right now, and with a story that sees the stakes raise ever higher one can argue it’s one of the most sociologically sharp books as well. It’s a blessing to have Renato Jones back in our lives.

 

10 out of 10 Ballistic Action Sequences