IT'S THE METALSHARK BRO! *Motorhead Voice*
I remember fondly back in May 2019 on a visit to London's Forbidden Planet Megastore coming across this glossy covered #1 on the shelves. Now, Scout Comics aren't found so easily in the UK (a travesty!) and are usually a delicacy reserved for customer orders. However London's comic stores are a whole other breed and are willing to take risks and cater to the wider range of tastes out there. I am of course eternally grateful for this as I may not have come across one of the most bonkers, massively entertaining and quite frankly magnificent books to enter the comics zeitgeist.
Metalshark Bro is a series I hold dear to my heart, as we do when something appeals to every aspect of your personal tastes, so please read on to my SPOILER FREE review of the series as a whole.
The immediate draw to the series of course is Ostile’s art with it’s unique proportions, colours that are candy to the eye and, well, the thirsty stuff. It’s the kind of art style that you would happily pick up regardless of the story or the quality of the writing and considering I hadn’t yet enjoyed the work of all those credited with this marvellous creation that was always a possibility. But risks are always worth taking when it comes to comics.
However all worries would be quelled within the opening pages of the first issue. Frantz and Cuffe clearly are a match made in heaven and I would have loved to have been privy to the plotting conversations when piecing this together. From the get go you find yourself happily taking part in the crazy journey you are about to embark upon. It’s shocking, unexpected and laugh out loud funny.
The lettering is also some of the tightest I have seen in modern comics. Perfectly positioned and sized, unique to each character type and stylish. Pangburn has done an incredible job and is one of the finest letterers out there.
The story follows the typical “hero’s journey” plot structure but that still doesn’t give us an indication on how it is going to play out. Metalshark Bro begins as a sort of anti-hero, almost an antagonist in that he is willing to work with the demons of hell to earn back his Shark-hood. However as the story plays out and Metalshark Bro meets his new best friend in the floating eyeball aptly named “Ira” it becomes clear that this Metal-head Anthro-Shark Bro isn’t a douche bag after all and what he develops into is actually, dare I say loveable?
As you venture deeper and deeper into Metalshark Bro’s bananas adventure it is evident that his entire design is somewhat sexual, a breath of fresh air for a male protagonist and this wasn’t accidental. After bringing this up on twitter sometime ago Frantz himself confirmed Metalshark Bro was indeed meant to be sexy and how can that be denied from his open jacket, shredded abdominal muscles, the “gutters,” those nipples and the tight leather pants which, when first introduced, emphasize a lot.
Volume 2 doesn’t lower the mood and keeps the party going. Volume 2 sees us introduced to Hamzig, Metalshark Bro’s would-be brother and with Ira in trouble Metalshark Bro makes one hell of a sacrifice to make his glorious return to rescue his friend.
“And if you wanna find hell with me
I can show you what it’s like” *Danzig Voice*
It’s a hugely satisfying story that sees our ripped Shark-Man grow from acting out of selfish need and self preservation to being a hero in his own right. It’s easily binge-able too, easy to read without adversely affecting the writing quality.
It's a labor of love (and lust?) but jokes aside there is not a panel wasted you really do want to bask in every single frame. From the gorgeous backdrops, the character acting and the bad ass action sequences, it truly is a testament to a creative team that have each others backs and share the same vision.
The queer comics community has also become quite taken to Metalshark Bro. Whether it's the art style, the hefty muscle and stubble of our titular hero or the journey to become the self you are most comfortable with and of self discovery there is truly something for everyone here.
If you have always wanted to see the album covers of Iron Maiden, Manowar and Ozzy Osbourne come to life on the page with a story that is just good fun and quite often comedic genius then Metalshark Bro is for you.
The series does have an open-end alluding to more in the future but there is only one way for a book to survive and thrive and that's to support the book whether it's a digital copy, physical or supporting Kickstarters Metalshark Bro is worth your time and your affection.
Metalshark Bro - Complete Series Review: "A labor of love (and lust?)"
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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