Friday, September 15, 2023

Comics Review: "THE MADNESS #2" is Too Legit to Quit


STORY: J. Michael Straczynski
INKS: David Lorenzo
COLORS: Marcelo Maiolo
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Valerio Giangiordano; Danielle Otrakji
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2023)

Rated: “Mature”

The Madness is a new six-issue miniseries from AWA Studios.  It is written by J. Michael Straczynski; drawn by ACO (pencils) and David Lorenzo (inks); colored by Marcelo Maiolo; and lettered by Sal Cipriano.  The series follows a woman who uses her super-powers as a thief and her quest for revenge against a group of superheroes.

The Madness introduces Sarah Ross a.k.a. “The Raven.”  She has super-powers:  flight, super speed, super strength, and invulnerability, but she can only use one at a time.  Sarah has been using her powers as a thief, stealing from the rich and giving it to herself.  She plans one more big score so that she can retire to a life of luxury.  However, she steals from the “wrong person” and that leads to brutal consequences that may drive her to utter madness.

The Madness #2 offers the origin of “The Raven,” and the hows and whys of her relationship with Sarah Ross.  Meanwhile, Sarah/The Raven continues her revenge tour – brutal and relentless and with totality.  Meanwhile, the superheroes behind the attack on her are starting to suspect something...

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  The Madness #2 is the latest.

In a sense, I don't have words to describe how writer J. Michael Straczynski is blowing my mind, stopping my heart, and making me clench a certain area of my posterior.  Maybe I can borrow the title of the song U2 contributed to the Batman Forever soundtrack, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" (1995).  That is what Straczynski is doing to me with this, one of the most intense comic books of its type since Watchmen showed everyone a new path to weaving superhero drama.

Art and graphical storyteller ACO captures the intense madness of Sarah Ross and also the complex and heartbreaking interpersonal slash intrapersonal relationship betwixt Sarah and The Raven.  As I said in my review of the first issue, ACO catches the script at its electric edges, creating the right angles with a captivating sense of graphic design.  ACO certainly creates the sense that something big is going to happen every page, while maintaining a sense of intimacy that makes the bloodshed feel as it should – really frickin' personal.

This is another absolute winner from AWA Studios.  If the American comic book industry is suffering, it isn't suffering from a lack of excellent comic books.  AWA Studios does not make excuses, and they won't have to as long as they keep delivering winners like The Madness.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans looking for excellence in superhero comic books will want to try The Madness.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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