In the world of black comics there are a number of voices that look to be heard and faces which want to be seen. While the majority of creatives I have come across are male, in the black comic scene that in no way means that there aren’t talented females in the game making waves and putting out dope work. So this week I picked up The Rippers, written and created by Regine Sawyer and illustrated by Stephane DeCaneva.
Rhiannon O’Cair, our main protagonist, begins our story with a monologue: she’s being sent to prison for an unknown crime, one she is presumably innocent of. She is escorted by an android named VI and though we don’t learn much about her we do know that she doesn’t take too kindly to the extremely unprofessional and sexually predatory guards. After our heroine is detained we rewind the clock three months prior to learn how all this started. We learn that she was one of the best bounty hunters in the Intergalactic Confederated Alliance. After being assigned to the prestigious Optimum Risk Division she is given the assignment of her career and is tasked with using professionalism over emotion, holding justice higher than vengeance, because the target is also the murderer of her best friend.
Let’s get right to it. This book has a potentially epic scope; the larger element of corruption and the conspiracy hinted at are obviously galaxy wide. Rhiannon is an obviously powerful and well seasoned fighter as displayed in her duel with her co-worker Raia, although I’d love to know the specifics of her abilities themselves. Rhiannon’s voice is easy to hear as she informs us of the goings on of the ICA, and the story reminds me of a darker version of Mass Effect, which is a good thing.
However I do wish we’d learned her motivations for becoming a bounty hunter earlier on. I initially wondered why the prison guards had to be so creepy, it was almost laughable, but I realized that the corruption mentioned would have to show up somewhere in the story so it made some sense in that regard. The writing was tight on this one and I’m excited for the expansion of this universe. Now I have to talk about the art. At times it reminds me of Mike Deodato’s work for Marvel; there is a close up of Rhiannon that looks amazing. Other times the art seems to dial itself back. The coloring shares the same issues as it goes from vivid to generic in quick succession especially during the scenes detailing the villainous “Raiders”. As the book goes on it gets better and I hope it stays consistent moving forward. I’d recommend this book to any fan of sci-fi and anyone looking for an alternative to the mainstream.
You can pick this book up at LockettDownProductions