- Cut Man #1
- Action Lab Danger Zone
- Written by Alexander Banks-Jongman
- Art by Robert Ahmad
- Lettered by DC Hopkins
- Available now, in digital
Hank Kelly is a bit of a whiner.
Sure, he’s got problems… foremost of which is an apparent lack of anything resembling a sense of personal responsibility. Oh, also he’s got an impending child custody hearing hanging over his head & some anger control issues. Honestly, Hank’s just an unlikeable guy. Period. So what leads up to his status as the unkillable man? Sorry, but that all comes about in the last pages of the issue, and I’m no squealer.
But let me put it into a bit of perspective, for the fence-sitters out there who aren’t sure that they want to invest in Cut Man. I opened my review copy with the idea that it would be a more straight-forward comicbook in which an Everyman wakes up one morning immune to injury and/or death. Well it wasn’t that, at all. It started out as kind of a meandering trip through a day in the life of a guy who’s kind of a loser. Face to face, in real life, I probably wouldn’t spend much time with him. He blames everyone around him for all of his misfortunes & is oblivious to anyone around him whose presence doesn’t in some way benefit him directly.
He’s kind of a dick.
And here’s where I have a real issue with Cut Man, Action Lab, & writer Alexander Banks-Jongman collectively. I was about three quarters of the way through this book, ready to put it to rest & never again darken my day with the presence of Hank Kelly. I certainly wasn’t going to review it because there wasn’t really anything about it that thought contributed anything of value to my day. Then the turn came, right in the last handful of pages, & I realized that I’d been bamboozled. Hank Kelly isn’t the “hero” of this book, he’s the foil around which inexplicable circumstances have conspired & metaphors gathered. Alex Banks-Jongman tricked me in the oldest con there is… the shell game.
Complicit in the tomfoolery is artist Robert Ahmad. His work is pretty straight forward, all hard lines & sharp contrasts in a black & white & blue format. It works because the style doesn’t waste time trying to draw attention away from Hank’s closed off, self-absorbed world. Ahmad may throw out little bobbers here & there, visual cues to make you think there’s something else happening… but like the cake, it’s all a lie. Hank’s story is self-contained, just the way Hank no doubt sees it, right up until the time it isn’t. That’s when the hook is set & the reader is slapped between the eyes with the realization that there’s more afoot here. Paging through Cut Man a second time, I found some questionable bits that got me wondering about Ahmad’s intentions & possible hints. There are looks, people seeming to hide out in the background, even a smirking guy on a billboard that might be paying a little more attention to the events unfolding than would be purely casual.
The final impression I have on Cut Man is that there’s something just below the surface, an inside joke with a punchline still waiting for a reveal. It may be that it’s exactly what the first look revealed it to be, a story about a guy untouched by the world around him. If that’s all it turns out to be, I’m just gonna chalk it up to one more scam perpetrated by Banks-Jongman, Ahmad, & Action Lab. It’s all their fault, nothing to do with me.
Final Score: a kinda resentful 9