- Writer/Artist/Colors: Kaare Andrews
- Flats: Alice Ito
- Letters: Jeff Powell
- Publisher: Image Comics
- Release Date: January 11th, 2017
Renato Jones Vs The Elite
In this age of income inequality, greedy bank, and (ick) President Trump, you would think the regular guy is in big trouble. The agencies and organizations that are supposed to protect us are either inept or paper tigers. We cry out for a savior, and end up with the devil. So, it is immensely satisfying to have Kaare Andrews release the first trade of his comic Renato Jones: The One %. This comic is both timely and immensely cathartic. The ultra rich had it coming.
Enter the Freelancer
Renato Jones seems to have it all: money, women, and power. But, secretly (and this is one of his MANY secrets) he is also The Freelancer, a vigilante targeting the ultra rich for their crimes against the regular guy. And after he’s done pasting the walls with brains, he secretly donates money to make the lives of his victims’ victims to be more comfortable. However, this attracts all kinds of attention from an increasingly panicked upper class. And when they send Mr. Wicked Awesome (yes, that’s his name) after the Freelancer, all hell will break loose.
Renato is a bit of a combination of James Bond and Batman, with a stronger sense of societal responsibility. He may put on the charming facade and indulge in the perks of his social status, but that is but a mask. The real Renato is lonely, and angry at the world. As the Freelancer, his bloody vengeance against the ultra rich for what they have done is bloody and satisfying. It is also, for the reader, VERY cathartic in this day and age. He is a complex character, who feels as if he doesn’t fit into the world he inhabits as Renato. This is contrasted with Bliss, his childhood friend and love interest, who will do anything in her power to keep her status. Rounding out the supporting cast is Church, Renato’s “Alfred” and instructor in the methods of bloody vengeance.
The Downside of Wealth
As for the One Percenters themselves, Andrews makes them more cartoonish caricatures (including one not so sneaky dig at the President-Elect) than fully fleshed characters. We got power mad oligarchs, perverted hedge funders, sexy femme fatales, and despicable corporate overlords to slay by the dozens. Each issue focuses on one primary target, but they each represent one aspect of how the One Percent run our lives and ruin them at the same time. As for Mr. Wicked Awesome, he is hilarious, cartoonish, and down right frightening. However, all the villains seem to lack that extra defining characteristic that makes them less cartoony and more interesting. But we’re not here to sympathize with the villains; we’re here to see them slaughtered. One could argue that is why Andrews doesn’t go in depth with them; he doesn’t want us to sympathize.
The art is dynamic, action packed, and full of life. It’s also DEFINITELY for adults only with plenty of gore, sex, nudity, and more. The faces sometimes are a bit squished, but its a stylistic choice that can be easily ignored. Kaare’s more cartoonish style plays well with the scripts he has crafted, ranging from chaotic action pieces to suspenseful splash pages. While some might complain about some of the two page spreads being stylistic and spartan; Andrews takes advantage of his expanded page count to experiment more with the comic medium and how to tell a story. Some of these include clever lettering techniques from Jeff Powell. The color choices by Andrews, with an assistance on flats from Alice Ito, could use more variety; but the lurid color palate, with golden yellows as a base, fits with the story.
Choke On This
Renato Jones: The One % is the cathartic comic needed in these troubled times. Our hero cuts through a swath of the most heinous of the super rich and we are cheering him all the way. It also will leave us wanting more as we turn the final page. While his opponents might be right out of a comic book, Renato himself is a complex and interesting character who will always surprise you with his generosity…and his many secrets.
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