This is messed up...but I like it!
This issue (and volume) is the most unique comic I found on the shelves at the time of this review. I highly recommended this.
I picked this up purely based on Comicvine's interview with A. J. Lieberman, and was instantly drawn in. There are so many elements to this comic that set it apart, I don't know where to begin (but I have to start somewhere).
First up, I must mention the physical novel itself. It's printed in an unorthodox shape/size to other mainstream titles. Wider and taller than standard, the interior panels are bursting with more art for the reader to devour. With not one, not two, but THREE murderous personalities, all exploitable by a mysterious sword/axe/gun-for-hire organisation, you can bet the creators need the paper to satisfy those egos bursting to get out and wreak havok on the underworld.
As for the art, as you can get a sense from the cover, it focuses heavily on character design. The creators make a pre-meditated choice to draw you deeper into the characters' world by giving priority to an up-close-and-personal drawing that emphasizes the dark and many-layered personalities that feature in the novel. Environments and settings play a part in scene establishment, but with such complex, multi-facited characters fighting for attention (literally), the reader is given their fill of the awesome 'triplet' assassins. Furthermore, there are very striking colours in this comic, which isn't to say there are none, but they serve to create a basic tone or atmosphere that the characters' lives provide the 'palette' for. Some may mistake this for poor or unpolished artwork, but it's not.
It's heavy in dialogue, but it's the kind of good character and story writing that keeps you enthraled throughout without ever slowing the pace. No one who's read this can fail to pick up on the striking design of the speech bubbles. They are as much a part of the art as the character design itself. If Cowboy Ninja Viking's Ninja personality is talking, you know it by the distinct design of his dialogue bubble - a katana. Each and every triplet gets their own bubble design for each of their personalities. It's a subtle addition which makes all the difference to the reader's enjoyment and simple understanding of conversation flow.
Lastly, the story is good basis on which to build on as the creators flesh out the unique underground and psychologically disturbing world in which the characters live. As a stand-alone graphic novel the action and meat of the story doesn't happen until nearer the end, but it's worth waiting for, as the twists are as unpredictable as the triplets themselves. Humorous and comical throughout, the ludicracy of the conversations played a big part in me connecting to the characters, and proved that this comic did indeed meet expectations and successfully achieved all the goals it sets out from the start.
The book doesn't fall down at all. Nicely paced, it keeps you on edge trying to work out what a 'triplet' is and how Cowboy Ninja Viking came to be, all together making this introductory story arc leaving you blood-thirsty for more covert government-authorised murder and mayhem. You won't be dissappointed.