The biggest selling point of Lucas Stand for a lot of folks is going to be the writer who’s best known for his work on Sons of Anarchy and that goes for myself as well. Not because I enjoyed the show–I actually never saw an episode–but because a TV writer knows how to tell a visual story. Comics are a visual medium and people often forget that. Is it good?
Lucas Stand #1 (BOOM! Studios)
So what’s it about? The official BOOM! synopsis reads (this is very heavy on spoilers!):
Lucas Stand is a military vet who can’t reintegrate into society and has emotionally cut himself off from the people he loves. At his lowest, Lucas does something he can’t take back.
It goes on to say: Hell comes calling, offering him the opportunity to make things right. Demons escaping Hell are upsetting the balance of evil, and now Lucifer has recruited Lucas to send them back. It doesn’t matter in what era the demons escape—World War II, old-timey Hollywood, Vietnam, present day—he must learn to fit in both the past and the present. Given new purpose, Lucas starts to rebuild himself and his life, even as he struggles at the human cost that comes with it.
Why does this book matter?
As BOOM! articulates:
Ever since we first saw Sons of Anarchy, we knew creator Kurt Sutter (co-written by Caitlin Kittredge) had an amazing comic book story in him. Now we’ve got it in Lucas Stand, his first, original comic book series. If you’ve been looking for a new antihero like Jax Teller to root for, Lucas Stand fits the bill.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Don’t do this to your boss…
This is one of those comic book reads where I had to make sure what page I was on because I couldn’t believe this story was still going. It’s jam packed with plenty of turns in story, surprises and best of all a lot of content to think about once you’re done. Writer Kurt Sutter and Caitlin Kittredge open the book on a military vet dealing with PTSD, a story we’ve seen quite a bit before, but from there the journey takes you to a variety of places that are unexpected and quite intriguing. Part of the joy in reading this issue is the surprises (though, of course, the synopsis gives most of it away) and at the same time the protagonist is quite complex and unique.
This story is all about Lucas Stand, who is a sympathetic anti-hero. He’s done a very bad thing, and can’t live with the guilt which propels him on this journey. It remains to be seen why exactly he’s chosen, but regardless of his bad choices you still feel for him. The fact that he’s thrust into this time traveling, demon hunting role after killing innocent people, yet you still feel for him shows Sutter and Kittredge have written a strong character.
Jesús Hervás draws a very competent comic with strong layouts that serve the sometimes wordy pages making this longer than usual read interesting at every turn. In one page composed of six panels, Hervás starts with Stand angry, sets to feeding the dog, writing a note for mom, sticking a clip in a gun, reacting to the gun in his mouth, and finally pulling the trigger. Each panel does something different, telling us a bit of information in a compelling way. It mixes in differing emotions and makes every panel feel as though it matters. The panel of the clip going in for instance shows Stand’s face just out of panel, almost dehumanizing him in that moment. All in all the art carries this story when other artists would have failed.
This can’t end well.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though the main thrust of the story is page-turning good, Sutter and Kittredge keep you in the dark when it comes to the fantastical element. All will be revealed in time I’m sure, but some might find the lack of answers frustrating. We get that Stand is being used and crazy things are happening, but the why hasn’t been even grazed.
Is It Good?
You won’t want to put down this incredibly exciting story that’s rife with surprises and one hell of an original story. It’s quite the bang for your buck too, especially in comparison to all the fast comic book reads that leave you wanting more.
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