Editor’s Note: Do to the incredibly graphic nature of the front cover, we have decided to use the Image logo instead for this article so if you’re reading this at work your boss doesn’t have a heart attack.
There are many different kinds of comics out there right now, with publishers going from family friendly to the other extreme. I’d like to start off by warning any readers that the Revenge Miniseries, while only 4 issues in length, was extremely not safe for work, and this review will be covering some of that material. As such, if you’re uncomfortable with mentions of sex and extreme violence, this review and this comic is not something you will want to read. If you don’t mind either of those, however, feel free to continue on.
The basic premise of Revenge is simple, bordering on clichéd. Griffon Franks is an old washed up actor who managed to get a last hurrah with a comeback of his old role as The Revenger. His young porn star wife Candy convinces him to go down to Mexico to get a face lift, which turns out to be extremely literal: he literally gets his face taken from him and sewn onto someone else so that Candy can get revenge. In a fit, he takes up the role of The Revenger and goes on his own rampage to find and kill everyone who wronged him: the doctors who did this, Candy, and even the man who now has his face. It’s not a complex plot, but it is extremely action packed. Issue four is the finale of the whole miniseries. Up until now, Griffon managed to make his way back from Mexico and is planning on confronting Candy and the man who stole his face, Brad. Meanwhile, Brad’s managed to kill one of Griffon’s ex-wives and his son, Junior, doing so when they came to see about the money that Candy and Brad were trying to get in an attempt to take everything from Griffon.
The whole series is one revenge after another, with Candy wanting revenge on Griffon for ruining her mother’s life, Griffon wanting revenge on the people who did this to him, and even some of the minor characters wanting revenge on other minor characters for certain things. In between all of this is what appears to be commentary on the lifestyle of excess and gluttony that is prevalent in Hollywood and the movie industry, but it seems to fall flat when placed against the story of revenge set up as the main arc. The characters are all fairly one dimensional, falling easily into tropes or clichés that have been used time and time again and never really growing from there. We never see past the external motivations of some characters, and for others we never see even that much. Because of this, all of the characters are flat, and it’s hard to actually grow attached in any way to them. It’s hard to care about Griffon getting revenge on Candy and Brad, and even during the moments with his daughter, it never feels quite right.
If there’s one thing this book does well, though, it’s excess. It’s hard to go even a page without there being either some form of violence or sexual image staring the reader in the face. While the art was generally quite good, there were a couple of moments where I had to wonder about female anatomy and if breasts could actually move and look the way they did on the page (the answer is no, for those who were wondering). While not all of the female characters are reduced to being half naked, two of the females we see the most are almost always in a state of undress at some point.
Overall, Revenge was almost like reading the comic book version of Hollywood’s top R-rated action movie, or the video game industry’s top action M-rated game, if those were amped up and allowed to show even half of what Revenge did in terms of sex. It’s not a comic for the average reader by any means, and while there are some who would enjoy it, it’s not a book I would recommend to others.