Kirkbride’s tale follows Jace and Tawnk, half-brothers who could not seem more different in physical appearance and in disposition. As the older brother of this odd couple-type duo, Jace is a free spirit and a “think on my feet” kind of guy, as a result of having to grow up fast and hustle to make a living for himself. Younger brother Tawnk is a 13-year-old orphan who is thrust into Jace’s world; the studious and cautious youngster is having to come to terms with his new surroundings – cleanliness is not a Jace virtue – and his grief of losing his parents. While Kirkbride plays with juxtaposing the two against each other with humor and comedic effect, there are thoughtful, deeper themes at play. For instance, both are coming to terms with loss; Tawnk’s is more immediate, so he puts into words his feelings and he wears those feelings on his sleeve. In contrast, with years of carrying around his emotional turmoil, Jace has internalized his feelings, but in flashbacks, it is revealed that Jace is hurting, too. What sets Jace and Tawnk apart from other odd couples is that there isn’t animosity between the brothers given the situation that has brought them together. It’s not an ideal situation for either, but as the elder, Jace knows that he needs to step up to the plate – just, sometimes, that step isn’t going to be the best, or right one. There is a lot of potential for exploring this relationship, and it will be interesting to see how Kirkbride develops it in the remaining three issues.
Koutsis, Toris, and Cvetkovic provide the visual facets of Errand Boys. The establishing shots in the initial pages of this issue are expansive in comparison with tight inset panel frames that box the characters into their respective confined space of the cockpit. Koutsis lays out a blend of panels that are structured across each page contrasted with action breaking out of the frame that bleeds right to the edge of the page. In one particularly stellar full-page layout, Koutsis comes from a low angle of the cockpit as Jace interacts with image-projected pilot controls, while a hunched-over Tawnk intently watches his brother. After initially gazing at the entire full page, dialogue balloons are situated in a cascade down the center of the page that root the reader’s gaze, but in no way takes away from the page’s larger composition. The bright pastel palette conveys a humorous, lighthearted tone. Pinks and peach colors juxtapose with blues (metal materials and reflecting glass) and greens that glow and ooze on the page. Thick, black lines are used sparingly. Dangerous moments are just as bright as the rest of the action; Errand Boys does not try to take itself too seriously.
Humorous and action-packed, Errand Boys is a bright, colorful adventure that whisks the reader off to another galaxy, away from Earthy worries and concerns. If this title isn’t on your pull list, you still have time to rectify that error. Pre-order your copy by Monday, October 15 (the final order cutoff for pre-orders), through your local comic book shop, so you don’t miss out on Errand Boys when it drops on Wednesday, November 7!
Creative Team: D.J. Kirkbride (writer); Nikos Koutsis (artist and colors); Mike Toris (flatter); Frank Cvetkovic (letterer and designer); Adam P. Knave and El Anderson (editors); Nikos Koutsis and Mike Toris (cover); and Erik Larsen (creative consultant). Vazgog backup story by D.J. Kirkbride, Giorgos Konstantopoulos, Alkis Kampouris, and Frank Cvetkovic.
Publisher: Image Comics
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