Consequences are hard to come by – in comic books. Especially capes comic books. Especially in the worlds of the Big Two. When someone dies, particularly a main character, the question is not “Who will replace them” but, “When will they come back?” If you’re lucky, they’ll come back in some really “cool” way. If you’re especially lucky, you’ll see the wife of a tertiary character off’d for the sake of making that third-stringer more interesting – like in the case of Sue Dibny. But with indie comics, we’re not beholden to marketing departments that don’t want to sully characters to advertisers or potentially ruin trademark deals with toy makers. When a character in indie comics dies – it’s forever. Mostly. Sometimes we have deconstructionist whims, want to poke fun at the big two or sometimes it’s just the point that when someone dies, they come back from the dead as a zombie or something spiffy like that. I don’t see any of that happening with The Strange Talent of Luther Strode – with this book, we learn to love a few characters that are by the end of the book destroyed – damn-near utterly and completely.
So what do I have to say about that? Well, that’s badass. There’s a lot of ultra-violence in this book. It’s actually pretty crazy how far they take some of the portrayal of violence – this book is not for kids, unless their parents are willing to sit down and actually talk to them about it. But, really, it’s not the violence or the portrayal of the violence that ultimately says something – it’s whether or not that violence really means something in the end – whether or not there are consequences. And Luther Strode has them. From the beginning of the book to the end and to some degree because his friends and family are deeply (pun intended) impacted by the violence of the book, Luther Strode grows as a character in an amazingly meaningful way. Yeah, this book is incredibly violent and graphic but it’s all worth it in the end because something grows from the experience and after all, it’s better that someone dies in the a comic book than in real life.
OK, I’ve said it, I really like The Strange Talent of Luther Strode because it’s really well written but there are some other great things to say about the book as well. It reminds me of Invincible – in a good way. It comes off as having built on some of the things that Richard Kirkman built in that book. And the origin story of how the character gets his powers is hilarious – very Flex Mentallo – I’ve never read it but from what I’ve heard, they have the same origin story.
So, if you want a funny, quirky, great comic book to read where things have meaning in the end, check out The Strange Talent of Luther Strode with story by Justin Jordan and art by Tradd Moore.