It’s been a long time since I’ve read a comic that’s as thoroughly inept as Eight Way Bandits #1. Writers Vincent Van Hustle and Stevie “Street” Hustle1, apparently working from characters and concepts created by Albert Avilla and Leroy Douressaux, II, craft a completely unreadable and unlikeable story that comes across as a weird hybrid of Elektra and a Sci-Fi Channel version of Blade Runner starring Dolph Lundgren. Both captions and dialogue are written in a clichï¿½-heavy, purple prose that harkens back to the 70s, when Don McGregor apparently was paid by the letter but the difference is, his material’s still fairly lucid and readable. Despite trying to be serious, Eight Way Bandits features the thoroughly laughable: “This is the near future, and it’s only a few world-shattering tomorrows away!” and “Daddy, be careful! You know how these Americans are so paranoid about someone stealing and murdering their children.”2
The art in is provided by Federico Zumel with Jeffrey LaJaunie on inks and it’s amazing in its inconsistency. Many panels look like they’re from a third-tier Top Cow artist who never finished Anatomy 101, some seem to combine Nagel and McFarlane in some weird hybrid that’s almost appealing, and others are just plain atrocities against God and Man. I’m not even going to go into the lettering, which is badly kerned and done in a non-comics font3 or the fact that nobody thought spellchecking (“oppurtunity” springs to mind) was important – I’m telling you to walk away now.
Eight Way Bandits is obviously written and drawn by people who learned to create comics by reading comics, and it appears that every good lesson was missed. This is a thoroughly muddled, ill-conceived venture for everyone involved and the lack of an editor to keep a cohesive narrative flowing has helped ensured that this comic is most likely going to last a scant two or three issues before sinking in the same morass that’s claimed many other self-published, black and white ventures. Enthusiasm isn’t enough – craft is required, and a significant lack of that very thing is on display.
A copy of Eight-Way Bandits was provided by the creative team for the purposes of review. A preview is available here.
1I don’t know if they’re brothers or if that’s some sort of studio name or what.
2To be fair, that line’s just so fantastically bad that I wonder if it’s supposed to be comedy. Sadly, the rest of the dour, noir-by-people-who-don’t-know-the-genre text indicates otherwise.
3An example of a good comics font can be seen on this Blambot page, where the “I” that starts the first sentence is not the same “I” that appears in the word “Wicked.”
Wow, that’s a nice font. I may buy that…