- Rammur & TOPS (Tales of the Police State)
- Written by Charles Santino
- Art by
- “Dead on the Ground”- Paulo Peres
- “Handiwork”- Marco Perugini
- “TOPS: Almost Home”- Carlos Aon
- “TOPS: Job Well Done”- Marco Perugini
- Available digitally 12-31-2021 (print to be announced)
A museum heist gone wrong. Two thieves dead. Rammur’s fusion gear damaged. The target of the break-in—a banned objet d’art—destroyed. But that’s just the beginning of Rammur’s problems, because one of his colleagues is a police informant. Can Rammur figure out who’s tipping off the authorities before he finds himself in a Global Freedom Authority labor camp?
In the realm of the rough & tumble, take no prisoners, spare no bullshit protagonists, you’d have a tough time finding someone as far away from woke as master-thief Rammur. He’s cold, brutal, efficient, and totally unconcerned with his standing in the hearts & minds of his peers. Any of his peers that he’s left standing in his wake, anyway. The only saving grace on Rammur’s side is the world he lives in, one which might have made George Orwell cringe, and the Global Freedom Authority’s list of atrocities pretty well smothers any offenses committed by any single person. Even if that person is the notorious Rammur.
Writer Charles Santino might have found the holy grail in his ruthless title character. Anything Rammur says or does could be attributed to id fueled wish fulfilment, or just the creative choice to take the kid gloves off and allow a character to respond harshly to his harsh environment. The world of Rammur & Tales of the Police State is brutal, making Judge Dredd’s Mega City One seem downright fuzzy and cuddly. It’s a pretty bold choice, taking your lead character well into territory that’s going to be taken as offensive to some and Santino navigates it well…
The only thing that still has me doing the quizzical head tilt is the narrative voice-over. It’s done in a third person perspective, telling us everything… I mean everything… that Rammur is thinking and doing as he thinks and does it. I think it would’ve worked better for me if Santino could have used a first person narrative and given his take-no-prisoners antihero the inner voice. As it is, I actually assigned the narrative to Rammur, but the effect was more comical to me and pulled me out of the mood of the story. While everything else about the book was serious, all I could hear in my head was an over the top professional wrestler talking about himself.
Without reservation, the artwork for Rammur and the world of TOPS was outstanding and worked beautifully in the world being built. For the two main stories featuring Rammur, the transition between Paulo Peres & Marco Perugini was smooth and painless. Not identical at all, their styles are both complimentary instead of jarring as the reader goes from Peres’s story into Perugini’s. Both are crisp without a lot of excessive line work, with a look that had me thinking of Bruce Timm’s work on Batman: the Animated Series. Heading into the Tales of the Police State short stories, the tone gets a little darker for Carlos Aon’s “Almost Home”, a story that reinforces the oppressive setting of the series, and just a little lighter for Marco Perugini’s “Job Well Done”. There’s a pretty grim world being built here and the creative team is laying the groundwork in this opening issue.
While I would like to see a bit more balance in the narrative, a little more show and a little less tell, Rammur & Tales of the Police State is a really interesting step past soft serve storytelling. It’s in your face, to the point, and unconcerned with offending… and mark my words, someone out there is going to read this book and get mad. Anyone able to move beyond the attitude is going to find a promise for an intense sci fi story with room to grow.
Final Score: 10/13