Comics Features

REVIEW: Turncoat

Written by Josh Sammons

Every once in a while, a comic will be released that will grab your attention, excite you, and make you want to read more, due to its original concept and fast paced humour. The comic that so gleefully grabbed my attention is Turncoat, a six part web based comic series written by Ryan O’Sullivan, with Plaid Klaus on illustration duties.

The online comic series is centred around Duke, a middle-aged hitman who works for an agency that specialise in ridding the world of heroes, or as they put it, “keeping the superhero population under control”. The world of Turncoat is awash with superheroes, every bus stop and wall has a poster of a hero plastered over it, and Duke in his cynical old age is sick of the sight of them.

Turncoat (1)

Duke is an almost incompetent assassin that loses his cool too many times, and we often see him arguing with his pet dog (when he’s not already moaning at everyone else he comes in contact with). He and his reluctant team only deal with small-time heroes such as Bug Boy (a knock-off Spider-Man), that is, until someone puts a hit out on the big-time heroes, or the ‘Liberty Brigade’ as they are known. It’s up to Duke and his team to figure out who and why the heroes are being targeted.

Duke is a character so brash and unpleasant that at times we really shouldn’t like him. But his incompetence and anger are endearing, turning him into a loveable and at times clumsy lead of the comic series. He often asks the question, what do we do when we are sick of heroes?

It’s refreshing to read a fun comic book centred on the villains. In fact, most of the heroes rarely feature, except when they’re confronted by Duke and his sidekick of the week in the first few issues. The series is also a comical look at the unseen hero world, where heroes are cocky, loud, and intrusive. For instance, we have Saviour, who is a Superman-esque hero the world adores. But this version is a womaniser with a bad attitude.

Each of the six parts blend into one big story, with each chapter being as strong as the last. It’s rare to find a six-parter that continues to build on its strengths right up to the very last page, but Turncoat manages to pull it off. The story remains strong throughout. It never falters or loses its pace to become anything but a fun and engaging read.

The comic is a rib-tickling sector of the hero genre, mocking established characters such as Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man by taking what makes them unique, spinning it on its head, and turning it into funny scenarios. Our favorite has to be Batman’s delightfully spoofed character called the Black Prince, who is one of the highlights of the comic series.

O’Sullivan’s writing masterfully blends the sharp humour with action, and his great lines make the series feel fresh upon reading. This comic is really funny. In fact, it made me do something I rarely do while reading a comic: it actually made me chuckle several times. Klaus’ illustrations complement the sharp dialogue. His blend of cartoonish illustrations and bold colours work perfectly in delivering the world of Turncoat to its audience and bringing the characters to life.

I’m praying for future issues of the comic series to be released. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for future projects from the team behind Turncoat.

If you want to read an original comic series with sharp dialogue and fun characters, then Turncoat is certainly for you. You can read the online comic series on their site by clicking here.

Will you be reading Turncoat? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section and on Twitter!

About the author

Josh Sammons