Friday, October 30, 2015

Review: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: Furiosa #1

DC COMICS/Vertigo – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: George Miller
SCRIPT: Nico Lathouris and Mark Sexton
ART: Mark Sexton; Tristan Jones; Szymon Kudranski
COLORS: Michael Spicer
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Tommy Lee Edwards
40pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (August 2015)

Suggested for mature readers

In 1979, an Australian science fiction film, entitled Mad Max, introduced audiences to the character, Max Rockatansky (played by a young Mel Gibson).  Mad Max is set in a dystopian future that takes place “a few years from now,” and finds the roads of Australia plagued by motorcycle gangs and other high-speed drivers.  Trying to keep the roads safe are the police officers of the MFP – Main Force Patrol – who pursue reckless road criminals.  After his family and partner are destroyed by a motorcycle gang, Max becomes “Mad Max,” seeking revenge against the gang.

Mad Max yielded two sequels.  The first was 1981's Mad Max 2, which was known as The Road Warrior when it was originally released in the United States in 1982.  The second sequel was Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which featured legendary singer, Tina Turner, as the villain.

All three films were directed by George Miller, who spent the better part of the last two decades trying to revive the Mad Max film franchise.  Warner Bros. Pictures finally gave the go-ahead, and a fourth film, Mad Max: Fury Road, debuted earlier this year and starred Thomas Hardy as Mad Max.

DC Comics' Vertigo imprint has been publishing a series of Mad Max: Fury Road comic books that are prequels to the film.  These comic books are produced by George Miller and Nico Lathouris (who co-wrote Fury Road), and Mark Sexton (the lead storyboard artist on Fury Road).

On the recommendation of Mad Max super-fan, Erik Larsen (my VIZ Media PR rep), I recently obtained a copy of Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1.  This one-shot comic book is written by George Miller (story) and Nico Lathouris and Mark Sexton (script).  Furiosa is drawn by Mark Sexton; Tristan Jones; and Szymon Kudranski, with colors by Michael Spicer and letters by Clem Robins.  Tommy Lee Edwards provides the cover art.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 opens in the vault, an edifice where the warlord Immortan Joe keeps five young women prisoner.  They are “The Five Wives,” his “Breeders,” whom he plans to use to sire healthy male heirs.  Joe believes these heirs will be future warlords, who will help repopulate the world in his image.

Joe introduces two women into the wives' living environment.  To guard against depression and mental ills, Joe gives his wives a teacher, Miss Giddy, a woman who will provide the wives with an education via books and music.  To protect them, Joe assigns one of his lieutenants, a mysterious woman named Imperator Furiosa, who moves in to live with the girls.  Things will never ever be the same.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 really does not have a plot, so much as it is a prologue to the main event, which is, of course, the film, Mad Max: Fury Road (which I have not seen as of this writing).  For the most part, this comic book is frustratingly reticent about giving up Imperator Furiosa's past.  However, the story does convey, in a quiet way, Furiosa's growing discontent with the way things are under Immortan Joe.

The overall design layout of this story is excellent.  From the beginning, the design and layout of each page serves to convey the sense that some big change is simmering and that when it comes, it will be sudden and explosive.  As for the drawing styles, Tristan Jones and Szymon Kudranski encapsulate the idea of a slave pit of the post-apocalyptic, especially with the aid of Michael Spicer's colors.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 has made it that I can't wait for my next trip to a comic book shop to pick up the other Mad Max: Fury Road prequel comics.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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