The Paybacks #1

The Paybacks #1

The concept is well-suited to today’s economy: Some heroes who borrow money for their super-gadgets and secret hideouts can’t pay their bills. When they get caught, they’re pressed into acting as debt collectors for others in the same situation. The Paybacks are thus a repo team, sent to repossess fancy weapons and such. It’s a risky job, since those convinced they’re doing the right thing don’t want to have their toys taken away from them.

The Paybacks is written by Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal and illustrated by Geoff Shaw. It’s firmly in the mode of comics by Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis, with wide casts of weirdly named people with strange abilities all trying to capture (or surprisingly often, kill) each other. This kind of thing is called “comics for adults” based on the characters acting relentlessly in the worst possible way, as a counterpoint to the actually heroic superpowered. Also, few kids will get the appeal of the weirdness of the combination of mundane bill-paying and exaggerated death methods.

The Paybacks #1

The guy driving the van delivering the teams is called Driver, and there’s a lot more going on there than expected, since we keep being told “it’s not a van”. It resembles a TARDIS, with a different world inside the doors.

The Night Knight (accompanied by his unicorn Knight Mare) is the repo target this time around, allowing for Batman parody. Thankfully, it’s all well-drawn, capturing the shots and staging of a more traditional superhero comic in a grittier, more European, more amusing style. The pacing sets up the gags well. Without the large amount of content here, it would be a smooth, fast read, because it’s drawn so professionally.

I’ve seen all of this kind of thing before — superhero deconstruction, humor based on destroying everything in sight — but somehow, I still enjoyed reading it, mainly because it’s so packed. New things keep coming on every page, and I’m curious to know more: What can leader Emory Rains do? How does this business work, exactly? What does the cliffhanger mean? What’s going on with the van?

The Paybacks #1 will be out September 16. Comic shops can preorder until August 24. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)

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