Iron Saints Collection 1 Comic Review - -

Story 8.5
Art 8.5
Value 8.0
Total 8.2
Publisher: Top Cow Studios
Release Date: 11/8/2010
Reviewer: Troy Mayes


Iron Saints Collection 1

Looking at Iron Saint it's hard not to be a bit judgmental. Written and created by Jason Rubin, one of the guys behind Jak & Daxter and Crash Bandicoot, youíd expect a similar story, maybe something like Atomic Robo thatís fun and witty. After the first few pages of this collected trade those predispositions go right out the window. Iron Saint is a head stomping, jaw breaking, blood soaked story filled with religion, vice and a good dose of awesome. 

Michael Iron works for the Syndicate, an organization of gangsters headed up by Big Daddy. The Syndicate are in a war with the Government and the Order, the religious influence on the alternate universe 1930ís metropolis Iron Saint is set in. Michael, with the strength and endurance of five men due to the rOid 4.0 program, is Big Daddy's lead enforcer in this war. Michael enjoys legendary status as an unstoppable force and Big Daddy treats him like a son, making him almost untouchable. When a job goes wrong and Michael is set-up by Sweet Joey Petunia he is not only wanted by the police, but by the Syndicate as well.  

The story is fairly familiar. A deal goes wrong, some people die and there is a thirst for revenge and a hope of clearing ones name. The protagonist then undergoes a change where he reevaluates his life. They are fairly standard premises, but itís the world Rubin has created and filled with so many details and the people heís populated that world with that make Iron Saint feel like a refreshing and enjoyable reading experience. If Rubin tried to tell the same story in a more realistic setting it would be boring and dated. Throw it in a crazy alternate 30ís metropolis with drug enhanced mobsters at war with a Church armed to the teeth and youíve certainly got something thatíll grab peopleís attention.  

The array of characters Rubin has populated Iron Saint with is definitely a strong point of the comic. All the gangsters have nicknames and a cool backstory, Angel Chase isnít exactly what she seems and Michaelís only friend, Mushmouth, is as crazy and memorable as he is. You are always eagerly anticipating the introduction of a new character. 

Of the characters Michael is probably the best. Rubin has managed to make a bruiser, based off of 80ís action heroes, a really interesting character. His dialogue and narration is smart and well written with his comments on the similarities between religion and gambling particularly insightful. Iím glad that while Michael shares the combined physique of Arnie, Sly and Dolph heís streets ahead in terms of being an interesting and engaging lead character rather than a collection of manly groans and grunts. 

Iron Saint also grabs your attention from the get go. There's no slow buildup, Rubin establishes the intense tone of the comic early on through Michaelís actions. The pace is unrelenting the whole way through and it will leave you disappointed when itís over because youíll race through it, but still have many unanswered questions. 

Comic book reviewers say this a lot but it really is true here, Iron Saint contains some of the best, most intense action you'll see. I can't quite put my finger on it, whether it's the liberal flow of blood or the powerful nature of Michael's actions (he can obliterate someoneís jaw with his fist) but itís gripping, amazing and oh so cool. The combination of Michaelís raw power with a variety of themed mobster hitmen also means Iron Saintís action is always different and able to surprisise you with some new Ďoh snapí moments in every fight.  

A lot of the brilliance of the action is due to the fantastic artwork throughout the book. Thereís just so much detail in every panel and even though theyíve gone for some characters that look like theyíve come straight out of a twisted cartoon the backgrounds and environments look very real. Every shot of the city is filled with detailed buildings and thereís none of that blurring or coloring of the background, except for when itís necessary to show speed or force. The colors and the artwork are all very clear and clean, making it a very sharp book. One of the standouts of the series is the way theyíve captured light in the images. Flicking through the book thereís a lot of variation in the darkness or brightness of the pages depending on where the scene is taking place. The only downside is the proportions of some of the rOid characters like Michael. On the whole they remain in proportion but on occasion they appear to grow or shrink in size, compared to other characters.  

Iron Saint is a glorious combination of the mobster and science fiction genre. Sure it relies on a tried and trusted storyline but the alternate universe, which combines the two genres, is a fantastic setting that really helps the story standout from the crowd. Youíll love the crazy cast of characters and the crazy awesome action that goes with them. Something you should definitely check out. 


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