Reading Jonathan Ross And Ian Churchill's Revenge #1

This is me, watching Jonathan Ross last night, while reading the first issue of Jonathan Ross' new comic, Revenge.

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It's tempting to see this comic in the spirit of the Revenge tragedy plays of the Jacobean and Elizabethan eras. And it holds true, if seen through the filter of cosmetic surgery, the Hollywood machine and pulp thrillness of Death Wish, Punisher and Kill Bill.

Here the ghost of revenge is the hallucination, we see a Griffin, a man given the chance to recapture what was once lost, but just as everything is working out, is brought down by machinations of his family, inspired by his past actions, and left for dead. In amongst this are apparent demons, the enslaving of the young for their flesh, mighty wolves and repeated skull motifs, and a play-within-a-play, giving us something operatic in its scale.

And Ian Churchill portrays this all with a pizzaz, it's gaudy, it's bold, it is absolutely grotesque, with a oenline, colours and a sheen that smacks of comics nineties excess. Oh and impossible tits.

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The combination of extreme violence, repeated scenes of a man, while conscious, having his face ripped off. That hallucinogenic opening scene? Not so hallucinogenic after all. Because there all manner of levels of reality, each being stripped back, layer by layer, like Griffin's face. Hollywood lies to your face, even when you don't have one, and here it's just part of the realities being exposed.

But this comic is about revenge. And that's the thing about revenge, it only inspires further revenge. So we have a new film, Revenge, based on the only Revenger films of the seventies with the same lead, also in his seventies. Because there is always room for more revenge. And so the face-stripping action is in revenge for an action carried out years ago. And in retaliation for that face-stripping, our lead must also wreak vengeance. An eye for an eye, a facelift for a face lift, never ends until the entire world has their face stripped off in agony.

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Yes, like that. It's like Ian Churchill has a quota of red pixels and he has to use it. And he does.

So I read Revenge #1 last night while watching Jonathan Ross interview Dougie Poynter about whether of not he's dating Ellie Goulding.

Because that gives this comic book another level. Jonathan Ross is friends and familiar with the high and mighty of entertainment. Whether it's hosting his respective TV channels premier chat show every week, or the leading film review TV show for a decade, or the husband of the writer of Stardust, Kick Ass and X-Men, he knows everything, everyone knows him, and he hears the deepest, juiciest, darkest gossip.

There's the irresistibly tempting possibility that much of what we read in Revenge isn't pure fantasy but exaggerated stitched together reality. Including the fellow with the the horns.

Also, for such a public figure, the comic contains wall to wall sex, nudity and extreme violence. Why do I think that the Daily Mail will be very very interested indeed?

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Revenge is about a man who gets a second chance, only for his drive to see everything fall apart and forced to start from less than nothing. Ross is a man who knows all about second chances.

So where's the next issue then? Come on, come on…

Revenge #1 is published this Wednesday from Image Comics.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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