Writer/Creator: Joe Khachadourian
Line Art: J.C. Grande
Color Art: Patrik Mock
Letters: Michael Hoffert
Cover Artist: Kyler Clodfelter & Patrik Mock
Editor: Paul Baumeister
Creative Consultant: Davis Demers
Publisher: Markosia Enterprises
Available: March 10 (digital preorder) via IdentityStunt.com, and March 17 (release date) via ComiXology and Amazon.com
Just when you thought the world (or your little corner of it) is saved and you can ease up on your Fall Guy meets Robocop by way of Marked for Death life into something a little more The Wonder Years, there goes Studio City (and Joe Khachadourian) coming up with new plots and scripts to blow it all to hell.
But that’s the sitch for the lovable cast of Identity Stunt, as a very special season two, episode one (of three) premiers this week. Time for the sequel, Baby!
Former stuntman Sami “Sam” Nasser is finally putting the shards of his existence back into something remotely resembling a life. He’s got his ex-wife back, and his daughter—even if she is a bit teen-angsty—both safe and (relatively) sound. Dominus Smith and his homicidal psycho-cult are a thing of seven months past, and the holiday season brings with it opportunities for both Sam and for Tracy.
The future’s so bright, dude’s even riffing on Run-DMC.
Except there’s the inevitable conspiratorial shadow group, rife with a bunch of Beatdown doppelgangers, just itching to muck things up for our happy little trio.
And raising a recently kidnapped and near-sacrificed early teen girl in the midst of a pandemic WHILE you’re living in the chaos and anarchy of America’s film epicenter AND living a publicly-outed life as said community’s coolest (but lamest-named, per aforementioned kiddo) suited vigilante? Well, let’s just say it ain’t a nice, relaxing day at the gun range.
‘Specially not once you see the secret she’s keeping…
Joe Khachadourian and crew (this time including the Pullbox’s very own Paul Baumeister wearing the Editor’s hat!) are back, hard and with a vengeance, with all the 80’s and 90’s action and pop culture riffs and nods of season one and double the action and intrigue!
Khachadourian is quickly becoming one of those writers whose material I’m excited to read just to see what craziness escapes the dark recesses of his mind next. Thankfully, though, it’s not all just hyper-spastic 11-year-old hijinks (unlike, say, some of the script writers of those 80’s action shows we all know and love, and which tend to star David Hasselhoff) though: he’s able to work in rich characterization and personality to his cast as well. Ok, as rich as an action comic format is going to allow, at any rate.
I think what makes Sam such an enjoyable hero, someone you actually want to root for, is that despite the chaos and action movie frenzy around him—and let’s face it, some borderline ridiculous (a la the movies and shows they’re a loving homage to) plot twists—he’s believable. He’s a relatively normal guy, trying to live his life. He’s imperfect. He’s got family issues, employment and money issues. He’s trying to be a decent dad, but not quite nailing it. He’s got friends who let him down but to whom he remains loyal until the end…’cause that’s what us real-life mooks tend to do. In his own way, he’s reminiscent of Peter Parker (who my childhood centered around, in addition to Star Wars and the A-Team—at least until I discovered punk music and boobs), which is a really, really good thing.
J.C. Grande takes the wheel on line art this time around (though don’t get too comfortable with him; looks like Rei Lay has been tagged for the series moving forward), and he continues right where J. Briscoe Allison left off last season: fast, furious and action-packed. As anyone familiar with the series (or who’s read the rest of this review, or Paul’s takes on the first arc), this book is all about bombastic action, manic combat and explosive…well…explosions. Testosterone personified. And in this ish, Grande’s got you covered.
Patrik Mock is back on colors for Season Two, and they remain as bright and wild as ever. If anything, Mock’s learned a bit from his first go-round, as the shades in the first arc could occasionally be a little dark, such that it was sometimes difficult to pick up on the lines and text. No such issue here. Grande’s lines are amplified by Mock’s bright and vivid palette wonderfully, and all works exactly as it should.
Michael Hoffert has a monstrous task lettering this ish: we’ve got loads of dialogue, a fair amount of narrative and a whole new set of characters’ back stories to fill in. Superimpose all of that over the manic action Khach has scripted and Grande and Mock have drawn to life, and you’ve got the potential for a real mess. Thankfully, Hoffert’s hella good at his job—because despite all the potential for disaster, the rhythm of the movement is maintained and everything flows exactly like it ought to. Kudos on that. AND Hoffert gets to play with some seriously cool sound effects as well, so there’s that.
Oh, and Paul Baumeister edited, too. Good job, Paul.
One quick caveat: the language gets a little spicy, and while the action is largely over-the-top action-movie violence, it’s still violence…meaning this may not be the best reading for the under-13 crowd.
Now, if you haven’t immersed yourself in the adrenaline-soaked glory that is Identity Stunt’s first act, get yourself over to IdentityStunt.com (here), Amazon or ComiXology and snag it now (it’s available in both hardcover trade and digital formats, or pint on demand from the IS website, along with other cool merch). Seriously folks—it’s an awesome read.
Identity Stunt 2, Issue One bows next Wednesday, March 17, though digital preorders will be available this Wednesday, march 10. Track it down at IdentityStunt.com, ComiXology and Amazon—or better yet, instruct your local comic shop to join the ride!
Review by Andy Patch