Ain’t It Cool News
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed a graphic novel called FLUORESCENT BLACK which was a vision of the future where the pharmaceutical and bio research industry had gone mad. This time around I’ve read a book called THE RECONCILERS…which happens to be about a future where the space mining industry has gone awry. Seems like our giant corporate overlords are the big baddies in a lot of the sci-fi fiction I’m reading, and listening to the news these days who can blame the artistic community for feeling like corporations are the perfect villains to set up against their protagonists? Sometimes, seeing what’s being done out there to the little guy, it seems like the world set up in books like THE RECONCILERS isn’t too far off.
In the 22nd century there are no nations anymore, no individual religions, and there is only one power: Sokor Industries. It seems that years ago there was a giant corporate war with all of the great companies vying for control over, well, whatever they could get their hands on. In the end it was Maximillian Sokor who rose above the ashes of the carnage and propped his company up as the new great power on Earth and its space colonies. As part of his peacekeeping efforts he set up a system where any company who could not resolve their differences through litigation could do so with a team of Reconcilers, or futuristic gladiators. Basically, if one company had a gripe with another there would be trial by combat. Each company has its own team of warriors and they fight each other until one team slaughters the other. So instead of all out military engagements the peace is kept by having small clashes which are televised to the masses as entertainment.
The story behind THE RECONCILERS is what happens when Sokor Industries attempts to jump the claim of a smaller mining outfit and the owners of that outfit don’t like it one bit. I’ll say right now that I loved this book. The setting is believable, the characters are fantastic, and there’s a real tension that’s built up throughout the book as the small mining outfit and its rag-tag team of combatants head to their inevitable slaughter. THE RECONCILERS is well conceived and extremely well plotted and kept me interested the whole way through. Although I did have a bit of a problem with the climax of the book, the read as a whole was extremely satisfying. Writer Erik Jensen does a great job of setting up his world, creating believable characters, and then forming a story around them that’s as compelling as anything I’ve read recently.
Artist Shepherd Hendrix brings a workman type style and feel to the book. There’s nothing really flashy about his style and I appreciate that. What he lacks in panache he makes up for with straightforward storytelling ability, which is something that can be lacking in today’s comic books. His style reminded me most of the late Dick Giordano, and when I say that I say it as a real compliment. While this type of comic art may not jump off the page at you it gets the job done and does it old school. It’s about getting the story on the page and Hendrix gets it on the page well. If you’re a fan of the old Valiant comic book art style be sure to pick up THE RECONCILERS because that’s what the art in the book reminded me of: an art style that told the story and didn’t get wrapped up in itself.
I highly recommend THE RECONCILERS. It’s a book that’s got a great concept surrounded by a great story backed up by some intelligent writing. I could see THE RECONCILERS easily being adapted into a film so if you’re a studio head out there get up off your ass and go get a copy. For the rest of you out there: go out and read this great comic before Hollywood gets its hand on it and inevitably fucks it up.
– Ain’t It Cool News (Kristian Horn – a.k.a. Superhero)
AIN’T IT COOL NEWS
Pop Culture Zoo
“One of the BEST COMIC BOOK DEBUTS IN A LONG TIME….”
“a 96-page THRILLING science-fiction ADVENTURE story…”
“a REAL page-turner…”
“INCREDIBLE artwork by Shepherd Hendrix…”