Aceblade: Vegas Vigilante #1 & #2 Review

Writers: Danny J. Quick and Christopher Hollars
Pencils: Vhon Remot
Inks: Michael W. Kellar and Silas Dixon
Colors: Richard Cardoso
Letters: Danny J. Quick
Publisher: 4th Wall Productions

Review by Michael Hein

When it comes to indie superhero comics published outside of the big two, comparison to big ticket intellectual properties is inevitable. Aceblade: Vegas Vigilante steers into that skid, making no effort to avoid the tropes and elements audiences are familiar with. Why should they? They’ve resonated with generations of readers for a reason.

Aceblade centers around an organized crime conspiracy in “Vegas City,” a heightened portrayal of the casino culture. The story follows an up-and-coming MMA fighter named Terrell Durham, who falls immediately into the the familiar yet treacherous depths of fight-fixing, angry crime bosses, and savage henchmen.

The whole book shares this “heightened” quality — showing us nothing we haven’t seen before in comics, movies, and TV, yet presenting it all with a fresh, nearly mythological gravity. The dialogue is littered with quotes and cliches from cop movies, crime dramas, and superhero comics, but they sound right at home in the context of Danny J Quick and Christopher Hollars’ magical realism. In addition, the familiar language from fantasy worlds is supplemented with recognizable phrases from today’s world: most notably, an agitated white policeman telling Durham — who is black — to “stop resisting!”

Even Vhon Remot’s art style seems to simultaneously revere and mock the superhero stand-bys, featuring countless chiseled men who are as wide as they are tall, and two angelic, prototypical female figures. The women, of course, are where this familiar method of storytelling begins to feel like playing with fire.

Aceblade features one loyal, pregnant wife, and one hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold type. Within these two issues, the female characters say and accomplish very little, and only serve as symbolic objects for Aceblade to gain or lose. Without the addition of some different kinds of feminine energy, the series’ commentary on its own genre will surely burn its creators pretty soon.

Still, Aceblade is a fun and thought-provoking action adventure. The character design will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Deathstroke, Deadpool, and Deadshot, to name a few. The entangled story of organized crime and professional fight sports will grab fans of Daredevil, Kingpin, and Green Arrow, not to mention movies like the John Wick series.

Considering the breadth of influences represented in these first two issues, it will be interesting to see how Quick and Hollars introduce other tropes we might recognize. I, for one, am excited to see the conclusion to this origin, and where the story might go from here.

Buy it!
These creators have hit all the beloved beats of a good superhero crime story, while setting the series up to be something new and interesting. For self-published creators, advance support from the audience is key, so buying these first two issues will give them the space to break new ground.

To check it out for yourself, see this link and contribute to the project’s Kickstarter here.

Mike Hein

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