verb (Irish slang) | ban·jax | \ˈban-ˌjaks\
1. To ruin, incapacitate, break, beat to hell, or destroy.
2. A mess or undesirable situation made as a result of incompetence.
Coming to you this October from Action Lab: Danger Zone is BANJAX SEASON 1, collecting Issues 1-4 of the dark and decidedly wicked superhero noir. BANJAX pulls no punches, suffers no fools, and repeatedly gets knocked down, but always gets back up again with a smile. It’s an utterly treacherous comic dance that has already been banned in three States AND Puerto Rico.
Disgraced former superhero, Laird Mason, is diagnosed with terminal cancer brought on by years of using his powers. Defending what he has deemed an ungrateful and ultimately unworthy city is literally killing him. With just months to live and a legacy hanging in the balance, Mason launches a violent and misguided Death Wish-like campaign to purge the city of scumbags before he dies.
When things get really ugly, Mason’s measured and deliberate former sidekick, Abel Raines – the public’s current point-and-wink superhero ideal – is tasked with bringing his old mentor in. The issue? Raines isn’t remotely up to the task.
Creator Rylend Grant describes Banjax as a dripping-with-character Paul Thomas Anderson-like addiction play, folded into a Tony Gilroy-penned action thriller, directed by Michael Mann… Now, tell us that doesn’t sound intriguing.
The film comparisons flow freely and easily from Grant, a screenwriter by trade, with a decade’s worth of experience penning smart, character-driven action movies for the likes of JJ Abrams, Ridley Scott, Justin Linn, F. Gary Gray, Luc Besson, and John Woo. Collider recently announced that Grant’s first Action Lab comic – the Ringo Award-nominated political action thriller ABERRANT– is being developed for television by 24 & Felicity Executive Producer Tony Krantz.
Banjax is a “two-hander,” a story with duel protagonists. The odd issues are told from Mason’s point of view, the even issues from Raines’. “It’s very much like Rashamon or Showtime’s The Affair, in that we’re never quite seeing exactly what happened,” says Grant. “We’re always experiencing an unreliable narrator’s very prejudiced version of what went down. The reader is presented with each wildly flawed man’s overly slanted take on things and is ultimately left to decide for his/herself what actually occurred.”
But the narrative roller coaster ride doesn’t end there. Grant adds, “I’m constantly playing with time in BANJAX, telling the story out of order. This series is full of experimental elements. There is an entire issue told from the point of view of a man literally going mad because he hasn’t slept in seven days. He’s seeing things. We don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. The psychological state of our protagonists heavily influences every element of this book. Artist Fábio Alves and colorist Edson Ferreira are doing some remarkably inventive work here. I can promise you that BANJAX isn’t your garden-variety book. We’re going out our way to present something very different here, something challenging.”
Well, count us in.
What the cool kids are saying about Banjax:
“This is the most amazingly well done first issue of a series I have ever seen. Point blank. Period… You cannot read this and come out if the same way you went into it… So effin’ good.” (Steven Leitman, Reading with a Flight Ring)
“Banjax has all the action, violence, grit, and heart of a classic.” (David Pepose, Creator of Spencer & Locke)
“Quality, engrossing material embedded with a cinematic feel. Gifted storytelling and breathtaking artwork. Banjax will instantly have you screaming for more!” (Jason Bennett, PopCultHQ)
“Banjax hits incredibly hard. Intense, thought-provoking, wildly entertaining. It’s near perfect. For those looking for something unique, Issue #1 is a must-read.” (Charlie Chipman, The Brazen Bull)
“Riveting. Refreshing. Heart-breaking. Ultra-violent. Honestly, a bit unsettling. The artwork of Fábio Alves is everything a dark and gritty comic should embody. Edson Ferreira’s color work adds an extra punch to really emotional panels. Don’t miss out on this bloody good time! A+” (Andrew Huard, You Don’t Read Comics)
“Holy crap this is good. This book hits all the right notes. It’s marvelously done, such a compelling story. It’s the best comic I’ve read in a long time. Honestly? Bendis could take some notes here.” (ComicCast Podcast)