by Jose Ivan Cazares
Volume one of “B-Squad: Soldiers of Misfortune” is a fun to read independent comic book. The series is written by Eben Burgoon. It follows the odd adventures of a group of mercenaries. The group consists of misfits that are based on pop culture stereotypes. The main cast of characters ranges from a chain smoking frenchman called Jean Paul Bombardiere, to a tech savvy social media addict called MacGoogle. Fans of Adult Swim shows like the Venture Brothers will probably enjoy the humor. Some might find the humor offensive, but it’s not meant to be taken seriously.
The series has an overarching plot, even though it isn’t clear what that plot is, however each issue can be enjoyed individually. The only plot element volume one reveals is that someone is targeting the squad. Volume one contains issues one through five and they all start off with the squad morning, or bad mouthing a member that died in a previous mission. Even the first issue starts off this way. There isn’t much character development, but it works for these kinds of stories. The writer makes it clear that the characters are expendable. The creators spin a mariner’s gambling token made of whalebone they dubbed “The Pequod.” for every issue. Even though each story follows the formula of a new squad member being introduced and one dying in every issue, it introduces new elements that keep the reader engaged and doesn’t feel repetitive.
The stories and supporting cast are just as over the top as the squad itself. They must face pouching hipsters, deranged James Cameron fans, a horde of genetically modified wiener dogs and tapigami culture monsters. Tapigami is an art form created by Danny Scheible, which uses masking tape as a medium. Scheible makes an appearance as a tapigami wizard in issue two. Scheible also backed all three of the books kickstarters.
The dialogue between characters is entertaining and doesn’t really on cursing for humor. It doesn’t really on sex appeal either. It never comes off as serious and never boring. There is a lot of references to pop culture and social media. MacGoogle doesn’t go anywhere without his phone and live tweets the squads missions. There is no absence of references to pop icons, from the artist Banksy, angry birds, the Mario brothers and lines referencing Star Wars. The book isn’t for children, but can be enjoyed by a wide range of readers.
The book itself is a paperback with a gloss finish. It’s well bound and comes with a nice cardboard sleeve. The pages are colorful and the panels are easy to follow. The art style is consistent, even though different artist worked on each issue. It’s cartoon like, but detailed and interesting. There is some artwork between issues and early sketches in the final pages of the book, as a nice bonus. Volume one is available at www.bsquadcomic.com for $24.99 and a digital dowload is available for $4.99. Details on volume two are yet to be released