The Escapists #5


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The Escapists #5


  • Words: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Art: Jason S. Alexander & Steve Rolston
  • Inks: Jason S. Alexander & Steve Rolston
  • Colors: Matt Hollingsworth & Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 15, 2006

While Denny faces legal troubles for his part in the Escapist publicity stunt, Max struggles to find a way to spring his friend while romance with Case is blossoming.

Poor Max. Literally poor, clueless and blind-to-so-much-of-the-real-world Max. While his friend and letterer, Denny, spends time in jail, Max feels helpless. He knows that those responsible for Denny’s current woes are those same corporate monsters that offered to buy the rights to the Escapist from him. He knows that at the expense of his friend’s freedom (both public and financial), he refused to sell out. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but this trio of misfit comic creators is up against more than they ever bargained for. And even when everything seems like it’s headed in the right direction, Max finds a way to screw it up a little. But, hey, his comic work is going great otherwise!

I love the dichotomy that Vaughan brings to this book. The comic within a comic isn’t the most original plot device in the world, but it doesn’t have to be when it’s done so well. This issue more than the previous ones shows both the Escapist’s story and the Escapists’ story running nearly parallel, the culmination of this one being a moment where the lead characters of both stories find imaginative liberation. But, again, just when Vaughan opens the door to make it look like everything is going to end up all right for all, he slams it shut with a sobering conclusion that makes the reader wonder if there will really be any redemption at all.

Both artists of this book give probably their best performances yet here. Alexander’s superhero art is dark, moody and noirish thanks in no small part to Hollingsworth’s color palette. The look is similar to what was in Daredevil when Alex Maleev and Hollingsworth were on that book, but Alexander has a more fluid style and a good eye for action. Steve Rolston and Dave Stewart give us the "real world" view of Max, Case and Denny. Vaughan’s script calls for more action and emotion than in the past, and this team steps it up, particularly at the end when Denny says the wrong thing to the wrong cell mate. Rolston and Stewart make it look and feel as brutal as it would likely be in a real jail setting.

Despite the depressing and/or infuriating moments (Max’s romantic cluelessness stands out) this story has, I am absolutely loving it. With each passing issue, I want more and more for this to become an ongoing series. It has a nice balance of action, drama, comedy and even romance all while telling the story of a comic book creator. I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

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