A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance #1
People say that no good deed goes unpunished. OK it’s a platitude, but an apt one. Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. The sentence is never fully spoken, but it came to mind many times during the trip from slow burn to bonfire of this first issue of A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance. This review contains some spoilers in terms of details, because I’m not sure how to tell you how this book made me feel without telling you about the difference between the everyday moments and the moments that feel like important information about what is going to come in the course of this story by Rick Remender.
Written by: Rick Remender & André Lima Araújo
Art by: Chris O’Halloran & Rus Wooton
Cover A Art by: André Lima Araújo & Chris O’Halloran
A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance #1 puts a lot into motion with only a few words, and without telegraphing much about where it’s going. But I am invested and curious and I believe many people will be too. The style of the art is not overly ornate, and that suits the story; it gives us a look at ordinary people in an unadorned light. It shows us horrible things in a matter of fact way that leaves us as panicked as the man with no name who leaves the scene. It leaves me wanting a lot more, and I will be among those of us waiting for #2, because I must know what comes next. This seemingly quiet book has the power to pull you in as it builds from a whisper to a crescendo, putting you on the edge of your seat by the time it ends, full blast, volume on 11.
(WARNING: Spoilers for A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance #1 ahead.)
Are you still with me? Good. Then let’s talk…. This man is a bit of a mystery. I don’t like to look up anything before I read a number 1, so there may be info out there, but I’m going by what the STORY is telling me. This is a man made nearly invisible by his everyday man vibe. When the story starts, he is more of a mood than a real person. He looks a bit rough around the edges, but he’s decent to strangers, like the elderly couple he lets ahead of him onto the bus in the rain, and he is observing his world in Vancouver, BC. He could be anyone. He could be me or you… until we see hints that there are other things on his mind. I don’t even know enough to say if I’m spoiling here, but he is mapping a route seemingly to the middle of nowhere, and suddenly there are things he looks up about a criminal case, and his face changes subtly. I wondered if he’s got skin in the game. But I don’t yet know if he does. I might make the same face at that news; I get fascinated by criminal cases too. (Have you seen my name here??) But Remender did not write a story about me, so I’m tempted to think this detail could have meaning.
On first read I didn’t even notice that there is one person our main man runs into who stands out. He has a bit of a “dead eye” look, compared to every other character the artists have drawn. The man with the dead eyes bumps into our “everyman” and drops a bag of items, all of which seem mundane when they fall. Yet they are certainly noticeable on any read but the first. He’s also the only person who stops to observe our man before the man notices him, too. In fact, most other people treat our lead character like he’s not a man of consequence, this person whose only other exchanges with human beings are either very basic or just to hear them speak their minds without telling much about himself. This man seems reasonably okay, to the point where the creators make it a major point to show us that he is clearly hurt by the thought of leaving a wounded animal in pain. They use many precious panels to do it, set off by a substantive speech by a bit player in the story. In fact, his brutal but well-intentioned mercy killing becomes a narrative element because he uses his foot to bring a sort of violent mercy to the clearly suffering bird.
And why does his footprint have such consequence? Because of the marks he leaves with it. Because when he gets to the middle of nowhere, and looks for the person he seeks, he finds a rather grisly scene. Why is he there? I’m not even sure if HE knows at this point. But I see him realize where he’s seen the things he finds there once before, and watch him exit in a panic a few moments later, without a thought for where his feet have been. The beings in need of mercy seem to have multiplied from a small bird into a few human beings. They include the victims, and at least for now, seemingly this everyman, whose name we do not yet learn.
I leave this book with more questions than answers, and a lot of curiosity about what is to come of everything I have witnessed. I even found myself wishing the intermittent rain that fell throughout the story would turn into the proverbial hard, cleansing rain, to give the man a fighting chance, just in case he really had a good reason for coming so far to see the people he found in such an awful situation. It’s especially interesting how compelling he becomes, considering I still don’t know his connection to the striking scene he stumbles into, nor why he came to be in this place at all. If I could nickname the points I will use to rate this book, I would make them each “Long Strange Trips,” because I cannot wait to find out more about what’s to come of these events from own his long strange trip as we get to the second issue. Read this book with me; let us take this suddenly loud, Long Strange Trip together….