Jason Aaron and Ron Garney bring their creator owned tale, Men of Wrath, to life at Icon this week and I will freely admit that this is one of the darkest comics I have ever read…and I am at odds with the content within.
Jason Aaron builds his world quickly, using actions that speak louder than words ever could to define his main character in this comic. In the letters column Aaron freely admits this is the darkest comic he has ever written, and when your resume contains Scalped and Punisher MAX, well….you can infer how dark this comic is. Aaron makes his point and establishes the dark tones of this comic early and often, not shying away from heartbreaking-to-the-point-of-disgusting violence to show how deplorable the protagonist(?) of this comic is. This comic is a punch to the throat, and not meant for the weary of heart. If David Lapham’s Stray Bullets is your jam, you will enjoy Men of Wrath. That same level of intensity can be found within these pages, with a similar level of mature content. Aaron is not holding back, and if you aren’t ready for that, prepare to be pulverized.
Aaron’s brutal plot is brought to life by Ron Garney who, I will admit, delivers some of his best art in recent years in this comic. The downside to this strong art and storytelling is the mark it has left on my soul. I will freely admit that I do not typically read things this dark for my entertainment, so Garney’s hyper realistic art depicting hyper violent acts was hard to take at points. I said Aaron was going to pulverize you, dear reader, Garney is matching him punch for punch as your brain is assaulted. Garney’s visuals bring an immense gravity to the situations in this comic and, while I wish I could un-experience some of what I did in this comic, more art at this caliber from Garney would be a good thing for comics.
Aaron and Garney execute this brutal tale well, but I will argue that they go too far at points. There is a long sequence in this comic that left me feeling like the proverbial horse, beaten to prove a point that was already obvious, and subsequently unnecessary. The events of the issue have thoroughly damned the primary character to the point where I have no interest in seeing him on the page, which may keep me from coming back for a second issue. Gritty violence for the sake of shock or simply to showcase intensity is not enough to drive this forward for me, and while the cliffhanger does create a potentially interesting scenario, I will admit this is probably not the series for me. These are talented creators telling a gut-punching tale, but this story is definitely not for everyone, and I’m afraid I’ll most likely be sitting the rest of this one out despite the storytelling skills of these two creators.
The Verdict: 7.0/10