Rating: 4.5/5 – A Fine Mix of Characterization and Ultra Violence.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is violent. It’s ultra violent and that’s exactly what writer Justin Jordan was going for. In the foreword of the first volume of Luther Strode in his closing paragraph Jordan talks about the concept of the book stating, “it’s about power and the decisions that suddenly having it forces you to make. Well, that and sweet, sweet ultra-violence.” That violence for the most part is so over the top that it’s humorous, but towards the end of this first volume although it’s still over the top, it effects you that much more because of your investment into the characters. Jordan’s writing will have you loving both parts of the story, the violence and action all gloriously drawn by Tradd Moore, and the development of the characters over the course of these first six issues.
Remember the Charles Atlas ads that ran in comic books in the 1970s about the wimpy kid getting sand kicked in his face? The big bully and scrawny Mac not being able to stand up to him until he reads Atlas’ book “Everlasting Health and Strength”? Well in Luther Strode that same idea is used with a book titled the “Hercules Method” that originally dates back to ancient times, and has turned the men who have studied it into physical gods. When High School student Luther Strode reads the book he’s able to protect himself against the school bully, but that power leads him down a path that he never could have imagined with consequences that will definitely shock you. Jordan will have you rooting for Strode, but I found myself also caring about those closest to Luther including his best friend Pete who’s even a bigger nerd than Luther, his girlfriend Petra, and his mom who’s suffered an abusive relationship in the past which makes the violence all that more impactful. I was originally drawn to this first volume because of Tradd Moore, but found myself enjoying it just as much because of Jordan’s writing.
And speaking of Tradd Moore, his art is just as over the top as you’d expect when it comes to the amount of energy and movement on the page. Tradd Moore’s work is new to me. I absolutely loved his short but sweet run on the All-New Ghost Rider, and that work led me to picking up this trade. I’m now even more of a fan than before! He has such a thin line and it looks as though his pencil never leaves the page, but it’s all so clean and clear. The action scenes absolutely flow from one scene to the next and the violence, like a man’s arm being shoved though another man’s jaw…well, it’s drawn with every gory detail. As mentioned above, Moore’s art makes the violence seem humorous at times, but when the characters you come to love are threatened with that same level of violence, Moore’s art will make you cringe and that’s a job well done. You’ll notice the differences in Strode’s body throughout as Moore subtlety changes his shape and muscle tone until he’s as large as he is on the cover. It’s another example of Moore’s attention to details.
Image just released the first issue of The Legacy of Luther Strode which is the third and final volume of the series. Although I’m saddened to hear that this series will be ending, it’s also refreshing to know that there’s an end in mind and I still have a second volume to read in the meantime. There’s plenty of story still left to be told within this world as the first volume hints at bigger and more powerful threats that we just briefly see. Jordan and Moore have created a wonderful new character in Strode and have given us over the top action and violence to go along with him. I’m ready for Volume 2!
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture