Pullbox Reviews: Red Hyena #1- Thief for hire, with a really cool suit..

The Red Mistress of Mischief and Mayhem is back at it again! Catch Red Hyena in her own three part miniseries “Head Games.” After gracing the pages of issue #4 in Project Shadow Breed, Red finds herself hired to steal a crystal skull from a wealthy private collector in San Francisco. Can she get the job done before Rock Jaw or someone else steals it first?

A while back, I had a cool title slid across my desk (electronically, in pdf form by email…) called Project: Shadowbreed. In as few words as possible, I thought it was a great little indie title in the purest form of the word “indie”. No polish, no frills, just a solid action story about government programs, military black ops, & werewolves… In a few more words, you can find links to the review articles here.

More recently, I had writer Justin Bartz get a hold of me about another title coming out soon. This one, Red Hyena, follows the solo adventures of a character who had debuted in the pages of Project: Shadowbreed. At the time, he only had a five page preview story, A Night To Remember, to share. I didn’t go for a full review at the time because of the limited content…

Now, Justin Bartz has a full book ready to hit, with a full three issue arc in the works, & he’s eager to get the word out. The beauty of Red Hyena & the world she lives in is its simplicity. Bartz isn’t looking to re-write Neil Gaiman’s Sandman… he’s creating some solid action titles with characters unique enough to stand out in the crowd. More important, Bartz is stretching out a bit, going from the relatively serious action of Shadowbreed, to a more lighthearted story. Red Hyena is all quips, banter, & antisocial behavior playing against the backdrop of espionage & theft for hire. As a writer, Bartz is moving forward, something that’s pretty easy to see when you go back to his first work, then compare it to this. Honestly, as a reviewer who focuses mainly on smaller press, independent work, being able to catch that kind of progression is pretty cool.

Likewise, Julienne Durber’s work has come a ways since Red Hyena’s first five pages were being bounced around. As with Bartz’s writing, Durber keeps it simple, letting the action tell the story. Compared to some other artists out there, sure it might be a little rough around the edges, but again that’s kinda the beauty of reading indie comics. We’re seeing the work of someone just as they’re finding their place in comics. Durber makes the black & white format work, keeping the detail where it needs to be without relying on color to add depth.

Red Hyena pretty much sums up everything that it means to be an independent comic, being put out by people eager to create & get their work into the world. Anyone who’s ever found the least bit of pleasure watching any of the thousands of direct to video action movies out there shouldn’t have a lot of trouble finding something to like about this solid piece of work.

Final Score: 8.5

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