Pullbox Reviews: The Raid #1- More Broken Bones Than You Can Swing a Baseball Bat at…

The Raid #1
Titan Comics
Written by Ollie Masters
Art by Budi Setiawan
Colors by Brad Simpson
Letters by Jim Campbell

Based on the smash (& sliced & clubbed & crushed) hit films from Merantau Films

The martial arts movie hit punches its way onto the page, in a bone-crunching new story set during the second film!

Ollie Masters (The Kitchen) and artist Budi Setiawan (Rex Royd) unleash fast-paced martial artist action as hero cop Rama descends into the depths of prison, where he must use all his skills to protect an undercover cop… and himself!

Meanwhile, the crime lord Bejo begins his rise to power, as the dark secrets behind fan favorite villains Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man are revealed!
———-

Special Operations Officer Teja is having a pretty bad run of luck. Sure, on the one hand he’s brought in Bejo, a high ranking crime lord in the Jarkartan underworld. On the other hand, his team took some pretty serious casualties (all, I think), compliments of Bejo’s people- The Assassin, Hammer Girl, and Baseball Bat Man… don’t snicker, what their names lack in imagination, they make up for in sheer visceral expression. For his efforts, Teja sees Bejo go free for lack of evidence, and is actually convicted and sentenced to prison for his unauthorized operation… Also, because his boss is more than likely working for Bejo. The Jarkata of The Raid series is a pretty rough place to be a good cop.

Finding himself in prison, Teja is surprised to see a familiar face in fellow special tactics officer Rama. The meeting doesn’t quite go the way he might’ve hoped, as Rama- going by the alias of “Yuda” for his current assignment- none too kindly warns him to mind his business and stay away. From there, it’s only a matter of time before the violence ensues. The Jakarta of The Raid series is pretty shitty place to be a good cop in prison.

If you’re reading this book, chances are you’re already a fan of movies on which it’s based, and you’d be nuts to think that everything is going to be all fluffy bunnies and tranquil meditation for our cast of characters. And as you’re probably already a fan of The Raid movie franchise, believing as I do that they’re two of the best action movies put to film in recent years, you’re going to come into this comicbook series with some pretty high expectations.

Let me tell you, Titan is looking out for us. Taking place during events happening in the less successful, but every bit as explosive second movie, The Raid is starting off as an action-packed avalanche of mayhem and destruction.

While a comicbook is never going to be able to reach the sheer kinetic energy of the hard-hitting Raid movies, artist Budi Setiawan has done an outstanding job of finding some imaginative workarounds. His fight scenes are brutal and have been choreographed with a great eye to their cinematic inspiration. Where the films showcased the Indonesian art of Penkat Silat, all rapid fire attacks coming in from every angle, Setiawan focused his efforts on giving us a look at the results of said attacks. With a panel inside a panel, Setiawan superimposes an “x-ray” image over his victims to show the results of the many bone crushing strikes, kicks, and knees. With that outstanding artwork highlighted by Brad Simpson’s colors, without which you’d never be able to appreciate the copious amounts of blood splattering the walls, floors, and probably ceiling, this adaptation shows some solid promise to being able to live up to its cinematic roots.

Now, I really hate to say it, but Ollie Masters is going to be take it on the chin for this one. I’m not saying his writing is sub-par at all… far from it. I think his humorous use of captions to point out the different players and the roles they play was great. For something like The Raid the dialogue is pretty much secondary- watch the movie with the captioning off and I think you’ll see what I mean. I have to believe that not only is Masters aware of the challenge ahead of him, but also that he’s got his sleeves rolled up and is determined to dive in and have some fun with it all. From what I’ve seen so far, that’s pretty much supported by the work he’s has done so far in this opening issue.

With a fairly rabid, but somewhat narrowly focused fanbase, The Raid comic has a lot to live up to and some challenges to overcome. Fans of fast-paced martial arts action are well aware of the high standards in place for this series, and it’s up to us to get the word out to the rest of the potential readers out there: anyone looking for an adrenaline charged action comic needs to read this book.

Okay, you also need to watch these movies… which to an action movie junkie like myself, should go as close to without saying as should be possible in any universe where there are action movies.

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