Peacemaker Tries Hard! #1
YOU know Peacemaker's deal...
PEACE AT ANY COST!
Too bad he's not the brightest bulb in the room. ...Any room.
In any house... in any part of the world.
Easy part first: Peacemaker Tries Hard! is, beyond a doubt, the funniest comic to come out from DC since the heyday of Hitman or Preacher. Fans of the eponymous hit HBO Max show rejoice: that winning iteration of Peacemaker has at last made the jump from screen to page. (It’s a little puzzling why DC didn’t try to get this series out a year ago to coincide with and maximize from the show’s limitless buzz, though. Alas.)
Writer Kyle Starks’ dialogue is spot-on, effortlessly echoing John Cena’s doofy meathead from the show so well, readers will swear they can hear Cena’s voice. The same goes for Robert Patrick as Chris’s sadistic, racist father in flashbacks, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller in present day. Starks clearly had an absolute blast doing his homework for this comic, because his knack for dialogue, already second to none (please, go read I Hate This Place and Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton right now), shines through with crackling clarity.
He also manages to pull off the extremely rare feat in comics of nailing comedic timing through dialogue alone, sans the benefit of visuals to sell the punchline. Readers will find themselves *actually* LOLing as they read through; there’s a gag involving the brushing-off of a wrongful death that is as flawless as any joke from screen or TV. But the jokes are never forced; in true Peacemaker fashion, they come more from people reacting to the absolutely bonkers nonsense happening around them than from any sort of labored set-up.
As well as Starks pulls off the character work and comedy gold, artist Steve Pugh – hot off his most recent trip to Billionaire Island – does an equal amount of heavy lifting. Peacemaker actually looks like John Cena; as do several other characters from the show, but it’s never distracting. It’s his mastery of body language and eye for small details that sell the unspoken hilarity of a particular scene are second-to-none, and elevate what could be merely goofy and hilarious to the high art of sublime.
The plot – such as it is – involves a kidnapped pooch who’s stolen Peacemaker’s heart in a world that, cruelly, doesn’t seem to understand why it’s so important to him that he DOES WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR PEACE!. And really, that’s the extent of what the plot needs to be – the humor and sparkling characterization is the real star here. Really, the only major critique is that it isn’t really clear where this story takes place: obviously set in the world of the show, yet simultaneously going against the grain of any established continuity from either it or the preceding The Suicide Squad. It’s mildly distracting to think about; however, this isn’t a comic that’s designed to be overthought. Instead, it’s there to thrill, entertain, and be the cause of many a belly laugh. And by God, does it succeed at all of the above.
Now, here’s hoping Vigilante shows up next issue.
Peacemaker Tries Hard! sets a bonkers new standard for humor in comics, completely going far harder than it has ANY right to in its mission to thrill and cause many a reader to quite literally LOL. If you're a fan of the show, there's zero excuse for missing this series.
Peacemaker Tries Hard! #1: Do Ya Really Wanna, Do Ya Really Wanna Taste It?
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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