Wednesday, October 26, 2016

VIGILANTE: SOUTHLAND #1 by Gary Phillips - Book Review

From the publisher: Donny was feeling pretty settled in his cushy life. Even though his girlfriend was politically active, he never gave social justice or racial issues any time. So, when Dorrie discovers something she shouldn’t have and ends up dead, no one expects Donny to be the guy to carry on her work—but that’s exactly what he does, putting on a mask and taking to the streets. He soon finds himself tangled in family history, political conspiracy, and a plot that goes far deeper than he ever imagined.

Set in the heart of Los Angeles, this new VIGILANTE series raises an old question while making it relevant to our times: when you witness bad things being done, how far would you go to set them right? Written by Gary Phillips, noted writer of the Ivan Monk series of novels, and drawn by Elena Casagrande (Suicide Risk), this hard-hitting tale of revenge and redemption takes the Vigilante into a whole new danger zone. 

With Vigilante: Southland #1, Gary Phillips has created a new Vigilante, but one that echoes the previous incarnation. Donny enjoys his life: work as a custodian, hang out with his girlfriend Dorrie, play basketball, and get high. But when the political warrior Dorrie is involved in an accident, Donny is reluctantly forced to turn to his family for help. What follows are the beginnings of a man who feels like he has no choice but to put on a mask to obtain justice. At this point, there isn't a lot to differentiate him from other characters in similar situations, but its definitely too early to say for sure.

Vigilante: Southland is a mini-series, and as such, the first issue spends the majority of the time introducing the characters and setting up the situation. Because of this, its hard to judge this issue on its own. The reader is given just a small taste of Vigilante in his costume, with the promise of more to come. I have a feeling that Vigilante: Southland is going to end up being best read as a collected whole, rather than in six separate installments.

Gary Phillips has opened his new series with a promising chapter, and I would recommend it, but I think I will probably wait until all the issues are out before I jump back in. I guess its the difference between watching a tv series from week to week, or waiting to binge watch. In the case of Vigilante: Southland, I'll wait to have it all in one place.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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