The comic industry’s premier satirist, Mark Russell, is drawing his AHOY series Billionaire Island to a close with issue #6 this week. Along with artist Steve Pugh, the two have created a witty, poignant and unfortunately extremely relevant comic book for the modern age. As with any AHOY book, readers get more than what’s commonly expected. On top of the closing chapter of this series, there is the short comic “Naked Swing” by the supremely talented Miss Lasko-Gross, and the short story “Dive Buddy” by Carol Lay.
Satire almost feels like it has a different meaning in 2020. Gone are the days of pre-2016 satire that produced a modest chuckle. It’s by no means a negative of this issue or series, yet it’s a feeling that permeates the book. While everything Russell depicts here is funny in its absurdity, it feels real. Billionaires eating at an endangered species restaurant hoping the animals are free range, workers kept prisoner for years thanking their boss for doing it to them. These are things we can laugh at now and despair next year when it has inexplicably become reality.
That sounds more negative than positive, but this is still a fantastic issue. The book has the tone of Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You. It’s dark in its satiric prediction of America’s future, yet still funny. There are moments of positivity in the comic itself as a conclusion to the series, but this review won’t spoil the ending. It’s still the series to give your friend to get them into comics. Russell and Pugh are a fantastic team and are more than capable of converting people into avid comic readers.
After Billionaire Island, Miss Lasko-Gross’s piece is wonderful. It’s great to see short comics like this, especially following a Mark Russell book. Likewise, Carol Lay’s prose piece is equally entertaining. “Balanced” is an odd adjective to use for a comic book, but that’s exactly how you should describe this. Each piece works well in their own right and together they form one entertaining and varied book.
Mark Russell has quickly become one of those writers that comes with a big giant “buy this” sticker on his books for comics readers. Pair him with Steve Pugh and you’re set. Billionaire Island has been a tragically relevant and thought provoking series stuffed to the brim with enough jokes to distract readers from the sad reality.
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