The Raid #1 Review: Merging Faces With Household Items

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Teja is special operations officer in the police force of Jakarta. He is leading a raid in a club with the intent of capturing Bejo, a major crime lord in the city. He does so without actual cause, and Bejo is well-connected. This leads to Teja being imprisoned, where he sees Rama, another Jakartan officer who is undercover in the prison and going by the name Yuda. Being an officer, Teja is immediately a target in the prison, and Rama must decide if he is worth saving.

The Raid #1 cover by Ben Oliver
The Raid #1 cover by Ben Oliver

To my great embarrassment, I've yet to have the opportunity to watch the Raid films. I've been meaning to for years, as they look up my alley.

I know the important thing: this is a universe where pretty much everyone is a skilled martial artist. That's fine by me, and the same could pretty much be said of Marvel and DC anyway.

The plot of this comic takes place during the events of The Raid 2, and it goes at a breakneck pace to get Teja into prison. With no context beyond the character sheet at the beginning, he kicks into the club with a full squad of heavily armed officers, tries to arrest Bejo, barely escapes with his life while the rest of the squad is massacred, and delivers Bejo to a pissed-off chief.

The story hasn't diagetically told us anything about these characters, and it's almost hilarious that the chief says they have nothing on Bejo despite that there are now five dead cops at that nightclub.

I'm not even mad.

Things come to life once inside the prison. Rama and Teja establish an interesting relationship, and a lot of martial arts happens.

The Raid #1 art by Budi Setiawan and Brad Simpson
The Raid #1 art by Budi Setiawan and Brad Simpson

This is where the artist, Budi Setiawan, gets to shine. The fight scenes are amazing in this comic, and every blow is given space and impact to impress the reader. The comic is gory too. Even though everyone knows martial arts like a superhero comic, no one is unbreakable like in a superhero comic. People are brutalized, and it's kind of amazing. Brad Simpson provides a decent color palette that never wows but never underperforms.

The Raid #1 is a ridiculous comic full of broken bones, shattered ribs, and crushed skulls. Martial arts and violence are in abundance in this comic, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. This one earns a recommendation. Check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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