Back with satire so close to reality we might need to redefine the term, Mark Russell and Steve Pugh bring readers another issue of their poignant Billionaire Island. As an AHOY Comics book, though, you know it’s going to be filled to the brim with content, so of course it comes with extras from baking recipes to short stories. It’s a staple of AHOY reviews at this stage, and goes without saying, but readers get simply comical value for their money with AHOY books, and Billionaire Island #5 is no exception.
There’s something special about Mark Russell comics. Every creative field has its “guys,” and currently, Russell is the comics industry’s satire guy. This issue is dripping with potent commentary. From the billionaires who inherited their money or won in it a divorce to the prisoners of the island who are content waiting because they don’t want to upset the system, at times it feels like reading the actual news, just with a punchline.
It almost asks the question of how much can be satirized. Obviously this was written before the events of 2020, which the issue somewhat inadvertently comments on. But at times, a giggle escapes from your mouth reading this then you remember what you’re laughing at and the giggle turns to an odd melancholic whimper.
This comic would be great to give to that one friend you have. You know, the one who defends the billionaires who inherited their money and use it to lobby governments. That friend who is satirized in this comic by a character who is literally in jail, but is adamant she is in training for a position that will bring her closer to her captor’s level. It would be great to gauge their reaction reading this. Would the penny drop?
Of course, praise needs to be given to Steve Pugh’s artwork and Chris Chuckry’s colors. This is one of those creative teams that just work. Every aspect of the comic works so synergistically with one another that it really does produce a near-perfect work.
AHOY being AHOY means that no matter how great the main chapter is, there’s also a selection of extras to entertain:
- “Pickle’s Pantry” makes another appearance by way of Mariah McCourt and Soo Lee. (Side note: their series Ash & Thorn is worth a read while you’re here).
- The story “Guitars vs. Rayguns” by Carl Cafarelli is a fantastic story that is sure to get a laugh out of anyone that’s ever played music in front of an audience before.
- “Kek-W” delivers a hilarious satire of sci-fi novel review roundups that spoofs Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip K. Dick. This piece stands out — it’s always worth reading something by Kek-W.
Satire gets less funny the closer the 2020 inches towards Russell’s script, but for now, Billionaire Island is still a very amusing story. Mark Russell is one of those writers that readers ought to keep track of so they know whenever his next book is out. If current events ever get you down, there’s always this series to surmise what’s going on with a tongue-in-cheek attitude that’s sure to make you laugh.