Sunday, November 19, 2023

Comics Review: "THE MADNESS #3" Brings Magnum Force


STORY: J. Michael Straczynski
INKS: David Lorenzo
COLORS: Marcelo Maiolo
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Mike Deodato with Lee Loughridge; Chris Ferguson
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (October 2023)

Rated: “Mature”

The Madness is a 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 will drive her to revenge... and to ultimate madness.

The Madness #3 opens as The Raven continues her revenge tour.  She has tracked down “the Council of Justice,” the team of government-sanctioned superheroes who killed her family and left her in a shattered mental state.  They are, however, now aware that she is coming for them.  So will that save Agent X-9 from a brutal interrogation?  Or will he give up the secrets to a woman beset by madness?

THE LOWDOWN:  AWA Studios marketing recently began providing me with PDF review copies of their comic book publications.  The Madness #3 is a recent acquisition.

Writer J. Michael Straczynski continues to blow my mind with his most excellent scripts for The Madness.  He mixes the madness of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen with the exhilaration of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch's The Authority.  Still, comic book reviewers often focus a bit too much on the work of the writers, as good as the writer is in this case.

The mad genius of the art and graphical storytelling for this series is artist and co-creator, ACO, and he drives The Madness to the edge of madness again and again.  His art recalls the work of both the late Neal Adam in terms of page design and the aforementioned Bryan Hitch in terms of composition.  How does ACO convey the madness and thirst for revenge that possesses Sarah Ross?  ACO sends the art and storytelling right at us.  It is as if ACO keeps grabbing us by the back of the head and slamming our face into the story.  He insists that we WILL know The Raven's madness and the violence, chaos, and fear she creates.  It's the perfect design of action for a comic book revenge thriller.

So here is a superhero comic book that delivers greatness without requiring you, dear readers, to buy 30 other comic books that are part of some kind of bizarre crossover event.  Come and get The Madness, now... or later with the trade paperback.

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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