Writer/Artist combo of Richard Carrington & Brian Dawson have brought us a super powered comic with a difference as it explores the goings on around the only bar in town that caters to super-villains looking for some downtime.
The opening issue eases us into a night at Mahoney’s bar and owner Mike is opening up for the first of his super-villain customers to arrive after a day of scheming & foiled plans. There’s a familiarity between everyone that arrives at the bar and it’s clear that Mike’s reputation goes beyond a mere bar owner into a past that saw him among the ranks of the super-villains he now keeps in check. That solid beginning sets up a massive cast of characters but the surroundings & interactions give this a very natural place to start.
The second issue takes that up a notch as the awards for best villainy are handed out in a large gathering of all the bad guys in town. Of course, there’s much more to preceding here as one of their own has a plot against them at a time when their guard is down…….although Mike has a keen eye for trouble it seems.
The third & fourth issues takes us halfway into the ‘Last Stand’ four part arc and when the earth sees an alien invasion come it’s way the regulars at Mahoney’s find themselves forced into working with the superheroes they were just recently fighting against. Mike is the glue that keeps that all together though and his path from villain to a straight life becomes the bridge between the two sides that most weren’t expecting. There’s curious combos in among the good guy/bad guy team-ups and as the tensions ebb & flow as bonds form, there’s a definite feeling that the alien threat is a shared threat they’re willing to join forces on…..but after that, who knows?
Mahoney’s is a curious blend of ideas that thrives on the quality of those characters that are pushed together while they try to grab some R&R and with a level-head like Mike at it’s core he gives the bad guy persona a sense of right as well as a heart at the centre of the book. Richard’s deft touch at keeping things balanced between the beer-fuelled buzz of just grabbing a drink and the trials of good vs evil brings with it a smooth intro and then a smooth ride from there into a more developed world of connections, rivalry & even hatred. While the initial two issues act as a brilliant introduction to what the aim is with the series, its the first parts of the first arc that really let things open up. The growing cast of characters are kept in check exceptionally well given there’s only been a few issues and as a very rel threat closes in on hero & villain alike it’s clear that while Mike is the heart of the book, the full cast are key in making this something special.
While Richard weaves that plot we see Brian’s art slap us in the face from the first issue and then it never really stops doing that through the ones that follow. Characterisations are slick enough & varied enough to really bring some warped ideas to life and the cartoony world combined with some of those life-like backgrounds gives this another hook that keeps things somehow relatable in a way. The vibrant colours and the control on the lettering is another key area in keeping the amount of dialogue under control and allow things to flow – and flow it does. The one stark imbalance in the book was the lack of female characters other than the barmaid Kat, which seemed to be strange given how otherwise strong the series is. That could well be because of the number of characters introduced that it becomes noticeable but it could still gain from a bit more of a balance.
The whole idea of Mahoney’s could well have descended into a come & go idea of villains getting drunk in a bar but instead it’s as much about trying to make connections & keeping some sort of direction to their day to day lives. For some that’s bigger crimes, for others that’s getting out of crime altogether but in the end, and in particular in the first half of the arc, there’s a hope for them all that the human side can come through and make a difference of some sort. Quirky, funny, heartfelt and entertaining…..that’s a cracking combo for a book and with some more diverse faces in among those characters this could become even better.
You can get hold of the latest issue and the previous three through the campaign link below:
You can also pick up the first three issues over on Comichaus or through the App and head over to Hardline Comics website, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages to see what other titles they have on offer.