Friday, December 14, 2012

Retrospective: Weapon Brown

Last week, Weapon Brown, the apocalyptic take on newspaper comics, ended it's current run.  Current meaning while the story as it started is over, I don't think he's done telling Chuck's story.  But for the moment, it is over, and thus it's time for a retrospective on it.

Last week, I said I almost wanted to compare the excellent Between Failures to the awful Blade Kitten, but honestly, the comparison wouldn't have been exactly fair.  Comparing Blade Kitten to Weapon Brown, however, is perfect.  A bounty hunter with a past, a world full of villains and virtually no heroes, a badass attitude but underneath a heart of gold?  It's weird how many basic traits Chuck and Kit share, up to and including the loyal pet.  But then, Chuck isn't a catgirl, so can't be a one to one match.

The other area where it doesn't compare?  Sheer violence.  Few comics I've read REVEL in violence the way Weapon Brown does.  It's completely over the top which makes it a thrill to read.  The fact that Chuck rarely gets through a fight completely unscathed gives an air of realism to the violent world around him, but doesn't reduce his badassery any.

The story is, well, just a vehicle for the violence honestly.  It's certainly modeled on The Road Warrior and it works well in that regard.  It's not perfectly a match for that classic post-apocalyptic film, of course.  There IS a civilization out there, it's just run by generally evil people.  Still, the classic trope of a lone hero working to save a small group of good guys is very much present in the second half of the story.  The first half, on the other hand, is more a lone survivor type tale.

As a character, Chuck doesn't really seem to change all that much through the course of the story.  He's a badass and while he may be weakened or beaten down, he keeps going.  About the only change is that he finds someone to love and when it's time to fight to save her, he doesn't back down.  Sadly, I will say that the rest of the characters are rather one note, but reading this kind of comic for character development is, well, kind of silly.  It's there for the violence, the glory of watching Chuck overcome the odds, and the references.

Ah yes, the references.  This is the real reason to read this comic, because it is a post-apocalyptic parody of the funny pages in the local newspaper.  Chuck is a grown up and hardened Charlie Brown.  His love interest is Little Orphan Annie.  His rival, CAL-v.1n is Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.  And that's just the tip of the iceburg.  Everything from Family Circus to Blondie, Gasoline Alley and B.C. gets a reference in there somewhere.  It can get quite obscure in some cases, so tags are often at the bottom of the comic to help point a direction, but guessing is part of the fun.

That's really the rub of it.  Yes, the comic is a good action/violence piece.  Yeah, the characters aren't anything to write home about, but they're based on even more one note characters and given a semblance of life.  It's just a lot of fun, and I'm glad to have found and read it.  Here's hoping that a sequel is in the works so I can watch Chuck and Jeffy carve a path of destruction through the Syndicate.

In many ways, Weapon Brown is the reason I started reviewing newspaper comics, and why I'll do so in the future.  Anyway, enough for today.  Until next time kiddies.

No comments:

Post a Comment