You drink the wise blood
You’re gonna hear about it
You’ll be taken down brick by brick by brick
Burn the orphanage
You’re gonna pay for it
They will purify block by block by block

From “Demons” by Sleigh Bells

“Burn the Orphanage” is a bold and sexy beast of a comic. Created by Daniel Freedman (Undying Love) and Sina Grace (Not My Bag), it gives you lovable dead-enders on their way to hell. Now, that’s entertainment.

I like that the panels sit on a black page with a dash bigger than average gutter space. It seems like the only space that will contain the contents within, evoking jail cell bars. The story is simple enough but it relies upon a well-honed sense of style and balance. Rock, and his pals, Bear and Lex, are after whoever burned down their orphanage when they were kids. With such a rough game plan, each detail matters all the more.

The details come at you from many directions: the way Rock reacts to being confronted by Hsu or the way the girls at the brothel are torn between defending Rock and appeasing Hsu. There’s plenty of backstory here even though it seems to be built by crude bricks, block by block by block.

A good action story never takes you out of the action or the story itself. Even the A-Team, for crying out loud, one of the dopiest action TV shows of all time, had room for some character development. In the case of this comic, Freedman and Grace are giving flesh and blood to stock figures you’d find in street fighter video games of the ’80s and ’90s. And it works. I think, at some point, you embrace your premise, own it, believe in it, and you get compelling work like this.

Issue 3 is a beauty as we go through a major shakedown on who does what and who controls what. There is still plenty of chaos to resolve but everyone seems to get a chance to take a breathe and say what they’re grateful for right before getting slammed against a wall. No rest for the wicked.

And things keep shaping up for what could someday make one hell of a movie. There are some choice catfight moments too. One of the best lines, to quote partially, goes like this: “I’ve fought twice as bad as you for half the price.” It’s spot on. I think the energy within these pages is addictive. Once in, you’ll want to stick around.

“Burn The Orphange” is raging through its second series with two more issues left to go. Pick up this latest issue as of July 16. And, for more details, be sure to visit our friends at Image Comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Crime Fiction, Daniel Freedman, Image Comics, Noir, Sina Grace

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