Friday, May 4, 2012

Undercover Review - Airboy: Deadeye

Review by Nick Ahlhelm

Airboy is back… and in Japan!

With Moonstone’s attempt to revive the Airfighters line of books over the last couple years, it is with some surprise that when a new Airboy limited series finally hits comic stands, it is not from the premiere publisher of New Pulp comics. Instead it comes from a publisher that has long combined pulp esthetics with manga-style art and design: Antarctic Press. 

As with the Eclipse and Moonstone versions of the character, Airboy is written by the extremely talented Chuck Dixon, this time aided by Gianluca Piredda. Antarctic Press founder Ben Dunn is at the helm with art. Dunn is a veteran of the original Airboy series, though his one issue at Eclipse was the only issue not written by Dixon, so this is the first time they have teamed on the character. 

With Antarctic’s pedigree, it should be unsurprising that Airboy: Deadeye takes place in Japan. Set in the months after World War II, Deadeye starts with a dogfight as Davy Nelson, Airboy, battles a lone Japanese pilot unaware of the war’s end. He captures Hiro Nakai, the pilot, without killing him and the two men become friends. 

Fast forward a few months and Airboy visits Tokyo and his friend. He meets Hiro’s daughter Yumi, then recaps his history in a gorgeous four page sequence by Dunn. Backstory out of the way, the first issue quickly starts in on the ongoing plot of the series as we are introduced to an insane Japanese scientist with a functional death ray and a group of Yakuza bent on recruiting Hiro. 

Airboy: Deadeye #1 may literally have everything a reader could want from a first issue. While Piredda is an unknown quantity, Dixon knows how to set up a great tale. Dunn has drawn (and sometimes written) comics for as long as Dixon. While his style is manga-heavy, this book clearly shows two experienced creators firing on all cylinders. 

The stunning first issue of Airboy: Deadeye should still be available at finer comic shops. If you don’t see it, be sure to ask your comic vendor for details.

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