Something interesting is happening in the world of comics. After decades of darker and darker heroes, from Wolverine’s increasingly jaded past to Batman deciding to make an exception and use a gun, people seemed to wake up to Captain America: a genuinely good guy, someone we admire and aspire to be. Creator Randy Reynaldo has long practiced this trope of a true hero in the Rob Hanes Adventures from WCG Comics.
The spy genre is generally represented by James Bond with his simple cool nature and mysterious past. He can blow up anything without more than a slap on the wrist from M, and his animal magnetism borderlines on misogyny. Reynaldo’s Rob Hanes, meanwhile, lives in a more realistic world of professional security. He is an attractive fellow often surrounded by attractive ladies, but he treats his relationships with caution. Even outside of his personal life, he upholds what is right as the highest priority, trumping money, ambition, and even corrupt law.
Reynaldo’s art is eye-catching from the full-color covers to the black-and-white pages giving a feel of the classic Golden Age, which is fitting as Reynaldo himself cites cartoonists like Will Eisner and Milton Caniff as inspiration. Each panel is an excellent study of depth. Shading comes in a variety of forms including crosshatching, lines, fills, and Ben-Day dots, each creating a different mood for the action. With action that leaps off the page and vibrant characters’ expressions, Rob Hanes is a work of art.
On top of his excellent art, Reynaldo proves to be a cunning storyteller. As series progress, creators often run the risk of building up too much of a background that would confuse anyone trying to pick up midway through or leaving issues episodic an alienating long-term fans with boredom. Reynaldo expertly balances the two, giving each issue its own standalone adventure while creating a universe with repeating characters and references to previous issues that shows the intricately woven world of spies. Comedic touches and fervent characterization give layers to the flavor, which is most of all about adventure as Hanes jets to exotic locales and battles cunning villains.
Many adventures are fresh from the imagination, while others harken to today’s news, such as the impact of social media on security and issue #15’s “Just Another Gilded Age” visits controversies as China’s booming economy allows avenues for corruption.
Fans of classic spy adventures and the pulp heroes of the Golden Age will love Rob Hanes. “Hanes Briefs” even prints fan letters, harkening back to the editor-reader relationships in Entertaining Comics or Stan Lee’s Marvel. New readers can get caught up through the first nine issues posted as a webcomic or just jump right in with the Comic Con release of #15 to follow the exploits of a genuine hero trying to fight for good in a twisted world of greed and vice.Powered by Sidelines