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‘Errand Boys #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Errand Boys, the five-issue miniseries from Image Comics, concludes with the last issue that will drop this Wednesday.  Written by D.J. Kirkbride (Amelia Cole, The Once and Future Queen), this sci-fi space adventure follows half-brothers Jace and Tawnk as they try to stay one step ahead of the law and firmly rooted amongst the living.  They are also getting to know each other as they seek common ground in which to establish a familial relationship.  

As mentioned above, Errand Boys is a space adventure; however, Kirkbride adds a layer of complexity to the narrative that takes the story beyond being an entertaining and humorous tale.  By adding two estranged half-brothers, characters Jace and Tawnk bring the emotional factor to hook the reader, so they come to care about the protagonists.  Jace is the product of a broken home; his folks divorced and his dad remarried and started a new family (Tawnk), leaving a young Jace to deal with his mother’s death alone.  The experience leads Jace to internalize his pain for years.  Tawnk’s recent loss of his dad and mom results in a raw sense of loss.  Both have to come to terms with that pain and congeal as a family, since they only have each other.  Having these two brothers thrust together and forced to work as a team makes for an engaging story, and Kirkbride’s exploration of their relationship is one of the successful components of this series.  Adam P. Knave (The Once and Future Queen, Never Ending) and El Anderson (Contact High, founder/president of Femmes in the Fridge website) were onboard as editors.

The visual creators on Errand Boys are artist/colorist Nikos Koutsis (Savage Dragon, Transformers), color flatter Mike Toris (Savage Dragon, Image United), letterer/designer Frank Cvetkovic (Eight Million Ways to Die, The Bigger Bang), and creative consultant Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon, Spider-Man).  Koutsis continues to bring to life the brothers’ adventures by literally pushing panels to the edge of the page and, alternatively, confining other panels to the more traditional (square and/or rectangle) shape.  Koutsis’ illustrations, ranging from character close-ups to wide-angle action shots, are the other component of this series' success.  His color palette is bright and warm.  For instance, the green space between Old and New Ebb glow and pop off the page.  Adding to the visual experience is Toris and Cvetkovic.  The latter’s letters flow well with the action conveyed in each panel and each page.  The lettering is easy to read and is balanced in the bubbles and narration boxes.  Sound effect words are used sparingly, so they have more impact when they do appear.  Rounding out the visuals, Koutsis and Toris partner on the issue cover, and they capture well one of the moments from the interiors – an excellent reader hook.

Given that this is the final issue of the series, in the last few pages, readers are treated to bonus material that includes an overview of the cover process.  Creator bios close out the issue.  Issue #5 of Errand Boys will warp onto the shelves at a local comic book shop near you this Wednesday, February 20. Fans of the creative team and/or the genre should go back and pick up the first four issues, plus the fifth on Wednesday, especially if you would like to collect the covers.  This is a fun series with a heart of gold!


Creative Team: D.J. Kirkbride (writer); Nikos Koutsis (artist/colorist); Mike Toris (color flatter); Frank Cvetkovic (letterer/designer); Adam P. Knave and El Anderson (editors); Nikos Koutsis and Mike Toris (cover artists); and Erik Larsen (creative consultant)
Publisher: Image Comics
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