Written by Joe Casey
Illustrated by Ulises Farina
Published by Image Comics
Holy diver, Batman! I think we have a winner!
Written by Uncanny X-Men scribe Joe Casey and iillustrated by Judge Dredd: City of Courts artist Ulises Farina, New Lieutenants of Metal is an entertaining outing that doesn’t take itself so seriously while providing a unique story and style to comic racks.
The book features a motley crew of head-banging characters who each bring their own brand of bad-ass to the collective. From a werewolf named Steppenwulf to a metal-loving panda named Spike, the crew swore an oath to protect, to serve and to rock out whenever given the opportunity.
These adorable admirers of hard rock are here to save the day from an array of fire-breathing bad guys, steel scoundrels, and the worst of the worst: mischief-making boy bands hellbent on making the world a little less metal.
Stuffed with gills with monster trucks, imposing spaceships, and music references galore, the graphic novel is filled with absurd fun, high jinks, and most importantly, charm.
Using music as the base for a comic is not a new concept. From Heavy Metal to the illicit Rock n’ Roll comics, there have been many a book looking to capture the look and feel of music genre, particularly heavy metal. Filled with story songs, dark themes and somber imagery, focusing on heavy metal often takes comics on the subject down a dark path as its explores the gloomy side to the tunes and those who create them.
However, New Lieutenants of Metal does something a little different as it manages to capture the humor and the spirit of the music style. The light-hearted nature of the fans and the joy they garner from the music is often neglected by comic books looking for a payday by focusing on the fanbase. The book manages to do this through the fun characters, the jovial storyline and the overall look of the comic.
Despite it’s love for all things metal, the art has a sense of whimsy. The character sketches lean more towards Adventure Time’s Thomas Herpich and Andy Ristaino than the likes of Robert Kirkman, Mark Millar or any of the more hardcore graphic novels currently on shelves.
This isn’t about blood, guts and Satan, but friendship and shared love for music. And this take is reflected in the art. This retro design choice adds another layer to the story, giving our good guys a soft, cuddly center to counter their steadfast metal hearts.
The book’s appeal should span from music lovers who love a good Dio pun to manga maniacs on the lookout for the next Scott Pilgrim.
I for one can’t wait for the encore performance as I add the book to my comic playlist.