Sunday, 7 October 2018

Errand Boys #1 - Image Comics

ERRAND BOYS No. 1, October 2018
In many ways it must have been quite hard for this comic’s audience to appreciate that D.J. Kirkbride’s inspiration for Issue One of “Errand Boys” was predominantly “all the non-Jedi bits of Star Wars… filled with scoundrels and no-goods who maybe secretly have hearts of gold”, as this five-issue mini-series’ opening instalment reads more like an episode of Matt Groening’s American animated sitcom “Futurama” than something found within a galaxy far, far away. Indeed, despite his heterochromia iridium, the thirty-year old Jace Lopaz could arguably be seen as little more than an older clone of Professor Farnsworth’s intergalactic delivery boy Philip J. Fry, as the rascal proves to be both an abject failure in his nefarious missions and maintaining a relationship with his extra-terrestrial love, Max; “Because, like you said, we’re not official, and, honestly…? I don’t want us to be. You’re not partner material.”

However, whatever this twenty-two page periodical’s stimulus was, the American author’s narrative certainly starts with plenty of pulse-pounding panels which undoubtedly grab the attention and make it abundantly clear that the “lifelong solo act” has only survived for so long because he somehow has the ‘luck of the gods’ when it comes to not breaking his neck or getting blown to smithereens by pop-guns. Interestingly though, the same unbelievable good fortune cannot be applied to the two-bit crook’s daily money-making shenanigans, as his appalling choice of merchandise container demonstrates when he unthinkingly leaps into a swimming pool so as to evade capture whilst carrying a cardboard box full of highly valuable baseball collector cards. 

Resultantly, for the first half of this publication Lopaz arguably comes across as little more than an idiotic, somewhat dislikeable self-centred scallywag who is seemingly being penned just for laughs by his co-creator, such as when he apparently seeks solace in Max’s left-over potato fries following his intermittent girl-friend’s permanent departure. But following Jace’s surprising decision to do the right thing by taking custody for his thirteen-year old half-brother Tawnk “full-time”, that opinion somewhat sympathetically shifts, even when it becomes clear that the “Errand Runner” probably sees his sibling as little more than extra-help by taking him straight out of school and starting the blue-skinned boy’s education on “the low, low streets of Old Ebb!”

Perhaps this comic’s biggest asset though is Nikos Koutsis’ excellently animated artwork, which despite being rather cartoony at times, really brings an extra element of energy to Kirkbride’s proceedings. In fact, much of Max’s disgust at her significantly souring relationship with the “spoof goof” and Tawnk’s understandable grief at having lost both of his parents so suddenly, is conveyed through the two characters’ well-defined facial expressions and enlivened body gestures, rather than any specifically uttered dialogue.
The regular cover art of "ERRAND BOYS" No. 1 by Nikos Koutsis & Mike Toris

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