suicide jockeys #1

Written by: Rylend Grant
illustrated by: Davi leon dias
Colored by: IWan Joko Triyono
Lettered by: Hde
Published by: Source Point Press

Any body that follows the Cheers to Comics! Podcast knows that I have been anticipating the release of "Suicide Jockeys" since my last interview with Rylend Grant weeks and weeks ago, despite already being given the opportunity to read it early. With this finally being the week of it's arrival, I thought it would be suiting to remind my listeners turned readers just how excited I really am about this book getting out to the masses that I would start a brand new blog segment on the website. Consider "Suicide Jockeys #1" the first subject of "Singling Out."

There are many ways to start a story, but if a book is going to grab me before the first page turn it's probably going to include tanks shooting at space ships shooting at giant fighting robots in 1243, Japan.
Flash forward a few years later to present time, which is actually still a few years out from now (time travel, am I right?) and we have our hero, Denver Wallace miserably sitting at his own table at the world's largest celebration of robot pilot monster fighters, aka Suicide Jockeys, Kureji Con. Immediately, I was drenched with an overwhelming sense of warm nostalgia as panels displayed glimpses of the convention floor covered with 80's and 90's Tokusatsu resemblances that brought me right back to my Power Ranger-loving childhood. As we begin get to know Denver a little better we start to learn that his life isn't exactly going as a decorated hero's should as fanboys line up at his sad looking table with plenty of demands and little respect in return. With all cons come the obligatory post-convention drink, and that's where Denver meets an opportunity of a lifetime to not only turn his life around financially, but also possibly locate his past love lost in time in his last mission years ago.

Rylend Grant's more recent comic releases have come via Kickstarter, so having the opportunity to see one of his titles hit the direct market is an exciting event considering the acclamations he's already accrued so early in his comic career. Grant, coming from an action film background, naturally has his finger on the pulse of this book's should-be fanbase as he delivers every aspect of what a Tokusatsu comic should have. While the genre is over the top by nature, Rylend does an incredible job of reigning things in just enough by balancing every aspect of brilliant storytelling to actually somehow ground this book to some sort of believable future reality. The immediate draw to every character involved, from Denver to Rory "Goddamn" Danforth and beyond, all felt worth investing my time into. If Rylend continues on the momentum that he set for this book in just the first issue, I have no doubts that we will be seeing his name and "Suicide Jockeys" on the Ringo ballots once again.

No matter how great of a storyteller a comic may have, an action comic is only as good as what it's art team delivers. Dias' art accompanied by the brilliant colors of Triyona are right up to the high standards one would hold for this genre of story. There's not an opportunity missed to flex artistically on a high budget Hollywood-esqe high octane action sequence giving the reader plenty to look over in every panel. This book didn't only deliver visually on the explosive panels, but also made sure you're going to remember every character come issue two by creating very distinct and emotion driven character designs, as well as making sure to throw in all types of nostalgic easter eggs assuring once again that your eyes have plenty to enjoy in each and every page.

Knowing that a Rylend Grant joint has yet to hit any shorter than a homerun for me, I went in with extremely high expectations. This entire team took anything I could have ever hoped for and delivered on an elevated level I could never imagine possible. From the warm and fuzzy nostalgic feelings that any Tokusatsu fan could ever hope for, to the knuckle-breaking explosions that not even Michael Bay could ever imagine, this book is about as perfect as it gets.