Vengador: Volume 1: No Such Thing As Justice and Vengador: Volume 2: Road To Darkness cover what is described by Gilarte as the complete “first story arc” of his high stakes tale of revenge. After a shocking assault on his teen sister and the failure of the justice system, Eric Martin takes matters into his own hands and becomes a superhero version of Dexter Morgan. Armed with a burning hate for the injustice and corruption in his city, Eric becomes a lethal enforcer who patrols the streets of Sydney, Australia. As the dark nature of his need for vengeance grows, Eric isolates his family and loved ones, creates powerful enemies, and propels himself towards the tragic consequences of his chosen life.
While Vengador: Volume 1: No Such Thing As Justice doesn’t improve much on the original single issues (still featuring stark, black-and-white art), Vengador: Volume 2: Road To Darkness bring the talents of colorist Ronson Edulan on board, and his presence automatically improves the quality of the book and Roque’s action-packed artwork. Roque’s talents also get time to shine in Vengador: Volume 2, with some impressive double-spread splash pages and a particularly violent death in the final pages of the book that, thanks to Roque’s depiction, is as disturbingly horrific as any of the fatalities that take place in the pages of The Walking Dead. Gilarte’s script adds a lot of exciting action, and he also gives us a supervillain (the Daft Punk-esque figure known as Herrod) that is both personal and unforgiving. Gilarte also gives Herrod a Darth Vader-like “reveal” that again showcases the talents of Roque and Edulan.
While Vengador: Volume 1 and Volume 2 have a number of great qualities that readers may enjoy, there are a few missteps that are still holding the story from reaching its full potential. First off, the books have some “rough edges” (typos, potentially missing pages, continuity errors or confusion, etc.) that don’t detract too much from the art and story, but still will be noticed by the reader. While Gilarte’s script is exciting, it is, at times, predictable and features a number of common comic book tropes and stereotypes (such as '80s punk-style drug dealers filling in for run-of-the-mill “bad guys” who serve as fodder for Vengador or the fact that Eric Martin becomes a badass, ninja-like killer with little-to-no training or experience). Again, these elements don’t detract too much from story but may come off as “dated” to current comic book readers.
The one issue I do think Gilarte may need to address in future issues (if there are future issues. The ending was extremely abrupt and felt very final.) is his fairly shallow characterization of female characters in Vengador. I can understand that Eric is the lead character, but both the character of his sister and his girlfriend are basically nothing more than plot devices to serve the story of the male lead. Vengador does have a scene where he enlists a female policer officer to be his “Jane Gordon” on the force, but her storyline doesn’t reappear in Vengador: Volume 2, so, hopefully, she’ll return in future issues. While I think some female readers may still enjoy Gilarte’s dark vigilante tale, the female readership of comics is nearing 50% these days, and any indie creator would be wise to take heed of the changing tide. Gilarte has stated that Vengador was inspired by a desire to see an Australian superhero, so surely he will understand female readers who wish for more fair and well-rounded representation of female characters in comics.
FINAL VERDICT: Vengador: Volume 1: No Such Thing As Justice and Vengador: Volume 2: Road To Darkness are good reads for the comic book fan who enjoys dark, grim, and graphic revenge tales. While the themes and characterization can be simplistic at times, Gilarte does attempt to add complexity to his superhero tale, and those who get a special joy from watching cinematic badasses like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Statham mow down evildoers will be happy to follow along with Vengador as he cuts the criminal element in Sydney down to size!
You can purchase copies of Vengador: Volume 1: No Such Thing As Justice and Vengador: Volume 2: Road To Darkness by visiting James Gilarte’s Esty Shop. You can also follow James on Facebook and Twitter (@JamesGilarte).
You can also check out my reviews of the first two issues of Vengador at the links below:
Vengador #1 Review: Vengeance...Coming Soon?
Vengador #2 Review: First Blood!
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers. Until our paths cross again, keep supporting indie comics!
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer