All Star Section 8 #1 from DC Comics
Pencils , Inks & variant cover :
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The greatest superheroes of all time , unseen since the end of Hitman. Have returned for the greatest superhero story of ever told! Befuddled hero Sixpack returns to Gotham City, desperate to rebuild the All-star team known as Section Eight, in the face of a deadly threat. He gathers old friends Bueno Excellente, Baytor and the seemingly reborn Dog Welder, along with some new faces – but he still needs that elusive eighth member. And that’s when the Dark Knight Detective gets an offer he can’t refuse…
Section 8 opens on Sidney Speck Art critic & wit of some renown of the Chelsea Art scene. Unbeknownst to Sidney. Someone has spiked the punch at the gallery show he is attending. Sidney is a recovering alcoholic… And the secret identity of The forgotten hero SixPack. So Section 8 starts as it means to go on. Disgusting vomit & snot filled panels unveil this latest origin story that had me laughing right from the start.
The next scene takes us straight to a location that any longtime Hitman fan will almost cry at seeing again, Noonan’s bar. Complete with everyone’s favourite demon Baytor serving the drinks. Even Hacken is in his accustomed place at the bar. Hitman is one of my all time favourite series and to see his location & characters back in a comic again was such a wave of nostalgia.
That’s not to say if you haven’t read Hitman this book isn’t for you, Six pack has to recruit an all new team to deal with the threat. He does so in the form of Powertool, Bueno Excellente, Guts, The Grapplah, and the mysteriously reborn Dog Welder.
Two members short Baytor hams it up to a seemingly unaware Sixpack looking to be recruited. But that only makes seven. That’s when Sixpack sees the Batmobile pull up outside, so Batman can use the ATM and Sixpack leaps at the chance to recruit the caped crusader.
The next few pages hold genuinely some of the funniest panels in comics I’ve read in years I laughed out loud at this comic more than once, a lot more. Garth Ennis paces this story so well. It never lets up. Some of the gags with Batman at the ATM are something I didn’t think I’d see EVER in a main stream DC book, but Ennis writes them so well that they fit perfectly here. Some artistic nods and tributes to classic Batman scenes and artists that are truly stunning and very cleverly handed.
The level of detail in this book by John McCrea is off the chart. He is really an artist at the top of his game right now and this book shows it. The level of detail in the inks for the opening scenes in Noonan’s is fantastic and the artistic mimicry in particular of Jim Aparo is amazing. John McCrea’s Batman though is without doubt his Batman. The almost organic styling of the cape for example. His design of the Batmobile is based on the Pink Panthers Car from the movies and it looks brilliant.
This is the first time I’ve come across John Kalisz colour work and it really impressed me. His palette really suits the dirty dark dingyness of Gotham portrayed in Section 8, yet colorful and cartoonish which matches the light hearted tone of the content. I’m going to be paying attention for more of his work in the future.
Garth Ennis and John McCrea are both masters in their own rights and I’ve loved their works with other contributors but neither are as good as when they work together. This book is a shining example of what a collaboration is about. Sometimes comics should make you laugh like this, sometimes they should be this irreverent and above all they should all be this goddam fun.