Ho boy, this is one of the first comic reviews I’ve done for a while that won’t be a glowing endorsement of the book. Bear with me.
So, I got this book at Herdon this year, back in March, thanks to a trade: I traded a copy of my book, Charlie & Clow, for this. Of the selection the editor had at the table, this was the thing that caught my eye that was within the sales price range set in the trade. I originally had my sights on one of the thicker books at the dude’s table, but I only got this one.
And…well, it’s not as disappointing as another book I covered in an old video…but it’s close.
I hesitate to call this a “bad” book. But let’s get into what this book even is.
Actionthology is an anthology of action stories, or stories that involve the theme of action to them. The stories in this anthology include:
- The Butcher & The Hound
- Death Mask (Or as I like to call it, “The Most Boring and Obvious Short Story I’ve Read Thus Far In My Career Good God the Melodrama”)
- Barry Baxton: Man of Action!
- The Akron Knight (perhaps the most frustrating short in this book to me), and
I would break them down story by story, but I make an effort to keep these reviews to one page or less. So here’s the keys you ought to know:
Death Mask is the most skippable short story I’ve ever read thus far. It’s uninteresting and uninterested in its main character. The art is crude and the pacing is melodramatic and predictable if you’re familiar with B-movie curses.
Barry Baxton: Man of Action! Has great use of onomatopoeia, but if you’re familiar with superhero parodies, it’s nothing must-see.
The Butcher & The Hound feels unfinished and it’s frustrating.
The Akron Knight is a sample of a much larger webcomic, making this MORE frustrating than The Butcher & The Hound. Also there’s stereotypical Islamic extremists. I’m personally getting tired of this trope.
Really, the only story I “liked” was 30:00, and even then it has big air quotes around it. I saw the twist of the story coming, though it didn’t stop me from enjoying it. Still, glad to see the trope at play – and also see that the main character is a woman in this short.
The art in all of these stories fluctuates between amateurish and flat as fuck. Arguably, The Butcher & The Hound has the BEST art in the book, and even then the posing of the action is stiff. Like, watching action figures pose off against each other. Even my favorite short of the anthology, 30:00, has overworked shadows and the line work is so busy you can’t hardly see what’s going on. The Akron Knight uses gray watercolor washes but doesn’t seem to know to let the black inks dry FIRST before applying them.
Approach this book with caution, y’all. There’s neat ideas at the core of SOME of these short stories, but you have to dig to get to them.
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.