“Tom [Stillwell] wants to make comics fun again.”
That is one of the lines written by fan favorite comic-book writer Gail Simone in the Forward to this book, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to describe this volume of The Honor Brigade: FUN.
Originally released as a 6-issue black & white miniseries, this collection reprints the entire series in color, and it is definitely worth it. Tom Stillwell, the creator and main writer of this book, has crafter his own universe of superheroes that rivals anything that is currently being published by Marvel or DC. In this story we meet a new group of heroes. Wise-cracking Toy Boy (pretty much the start of the book), who uses high-tech toys to fight crime, the somewhat stiff electric hero Lightning Rod, Living Log, a big walking & talking tree-man, Deadeye, the ghost of a murdered cop, Mystery Girl (who’s found floating naked in a test tube) and others join together to face the minions of Adrian Conroy, a maniacal (Black!) multi-billionaire who wants to control all superheroes.
The story is a perfect mix of action and characterization that will keep any reader hooked, from first issue to last.
And the artwork by Bradley Bowers fits this story to a T. He has a nice clean style that I enjoy very much, and helps make the action easy to follow.
This collection also contains some extras. There are several pin-ups. 2 images of Toy Boy, one by Mike Norton, & another by Terry Pavlet. Lightning Rod by Erik Burnham, Deadeye by Chris Burnham, Living Log by Tim Seeley, & Mystery Girl by the one and only Colleen Doran.
Also, some extra short stories:
TOYBOY SEES THE STARS
A 4-page story by Gail Simone and James Ritchey III shows Toyboy, in the aftermath of a fight with a supervillain, meeting a young boy who is his #1 fan, and helps him realize what a real hero is.
A 12-page story by Geoffrey Thorne & Scott Story
Marlon Conroy is a man who has been trapped inside a hi-tech suit of armor. A female scientist is trying to help him cope with it, by creating a virtual reality program for him to interact when. But her motivations for helping him are quite so clear. It’s an intriguing story.
HE WHO LAUGHS LAST
A 6-page story by Mike Bullock and Bradley Bowers
Lightning Rod faces a giant robot. Good action.
OFF THE RACK
A 6-page story by Tom Stillwell & Jenny Frison
Living Log enlists his super-powered niece to help Mystery Girl with some “female problems.” It’s a nice story with good characterization.
And GHOSTS OF THE PAST
A 5-page story by Danny Donovan & Cary Vonblinden about Deadeye, that gives us a glimpse into his previous life.
I very highly recommend this book to all comic-book superhero fans. It’s all-ages fun, so if you’re an adult you’ll love it, and then can feel free to loan it to your kids for them to read.
Honor Brigade can be purchased on indyplanet.com: