It is seems the anarchaic spirit of imagination is only alive in comic books. With only ink and paper, an artist can create entire universes and fill them with an odd assortment of creatures. Yet it all makes sense. Writers can stretch the laws of physics farther than Mr. Fantastic and it bounces back. The violence is so over the top, it is either really exciting or really hilarious. Since they are drawings, there is no worry of expensive special effects. This doesn’t mean that the artists can do whatever they want. It only works if it makes sense in the world of the comic. A perfect example is the new comic series Big Hitters, a sci-fi action comedy created by Jon Goff and Travis Sengaus (Spawn).
Set in the year 3047, The Hitters are an organization of unionized bounty hunters created by the United Federal Planetary Alliance to handle the dirty side of enforcing intergalactic law. Basically, it is a league of Han Solos. Fresh and Mack are amongst this league. But Fresh is feeling unsatisfied with the menial task of capturing tax evaders and bail jumpers. He wants to play in the big leagues. He sees that opportunity via a bounty for a scientist’s head from a criminal organization of Eastern Block.
Taking a lesson from Raiders of the Lost Ark, writer Goff hits the ground running with a fast-paced action scene. From the scene of their ship landing on an asteroid containing a High security building to Fresh and Mack making haste, the first issue is a fast paced joy to watch. Adding to the fun is the cartoonish images of guards looking intimidating in one panel and then seeing stars the next after the old “POW! WHAM! BOOM!” And then there’s Fresh’s laid back narration; “What’s so tough ‘bout Ghostin’ our way into a high-security Government safe house, secreted away in some obscure asteroid belt somewhere.”
Of the two characters, Mack is the more interesting. At 1st sight, this big, hulking figure could be perceived as the big dumb muscles of the group. Instead, Mack is portrayed as the more sensible of the two. He wants to reach the top, but prefers to do it the more legitimate way. He is not afraid to point out the stupidity of making a deal with a thug organization like Eastern Block. But he is also loyal to his partner.
Still, they are not white hatted good guys. They have no problem with decapitating a defenseless scientist. To them, he’s just “some big wig theoretical scientist guy.” It’s never clear what project the scientist was working on. For all we know, he could have been helping to build a planet destroying laser ala Star Wars or was just measuring space. Still you feel bad for the scientist.
The protagonists may be sane, but the world they inhabit is crazy. That’s where the artistic work of Sengaus comes in. All around them are a crazy assortment of creatures. Even in the diner scene, the area is inhabited with crocodile waitresses and truckers with purple butt cracks. Even Mack and Fresh’s robot is a green frog-like android named R.I.B.B.I.T. Sengaus also adds small details, especially the graffiti on a two-page spread of the title or the scientist’s head bleeding green.
So far, I have only read the first issue. It feels more like the prologue to a bigger story than a standalone story. But after enjoying the chaotic, over the top fun of Big Hitters, I would be interested in finishing that big story.