In the first two years of Artists, Writers & Artisans Inc, they've released a number of series from some of comics' most reliable old hands. We've reviewed some. But none of their series intrigued me as much as American Ronin, the combination of veteran writer Peter Milligan and new-ish to the Western mainstream artist ACO. American Ronin #2 felt like Peter Milligan setting up a world that was basically the tabletop roleplaying game Shadowrun, minus the elves.
So what does the American Ronin team bring to the table for issue two? Two assassins circle each other for an issue. The penciller ACO and the colorist Dean White do more fabulous work. ACO's non-standard layouts are a treat. They're eye-catching but also easy to follow.
Peter Milligan introduces some complicating power dynamics between the corporate assassin and the rest of the cadre he's working for. Milligan knows tension, and in that scene, there's a very real sense that the corporate assassin is more powerful than the hand that points him toward his next target.
In fairness to the team, there was a page who's execution made me uncomfortable, which was the corporate assassin talking about how he tortured a person. I recall feeling genuinely discomforted in my spine when I read it.
On the other side of the coin, I wanted to credit the letterer with good placement of narration boxes, but apparently, AWA omitted the credits page in my preview copy. What do you think about American Ronin #2? Is this one of Peter Milligan and ACO's best comics yet? Let me know in the comments.
War is over, democracy an illusion, real power now lies not with nation states but huge corporations engaged in a silent war for global domination. Their number one weapon: highly-skilled, technologically-enhanced operatives trained since childhood to pledge their allegiance to the corporate flag. But what happens when one such operative breaks free of his mental chains and decides to bring the whole system down? Can one "Ronin" make a difference?