Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Virgil' OGN by Steve Orlando and J.D. Faith


★★★★★ (5/5)

On its surface, 'Virgil' by Steve Orlando and J.D.Faith is a brutally fantastic revenge fantasy on par with Quentin Tarantino's best. Underneath, the tale of a man left for dead and his lover taken hostage carries with it, fairly or unfairly, the weight of representation in a medium and the type of story that more often treats homosexuals as victims than harbingers of vengeance. With a fast-paced and thoughtful exploration of a cop hiding his true self, his love for another man, and desire to leave the corrupted and bigoted world of Kingston, Jamaica, 'Virgil' is an allegory for the neverending struggle to fight injustice and live free against the worst of humanity in real life.

Virgil is going along to get along with his fellow police officers. Participating in shaking down local drug runners and spending that bounty on tawdry nighttime pursuits like prostitutes. The status quo is an atmosphere of alpha male posturing and a corrupted sense of invisibility because they were a badge. Not to mention an openly acceptable casualness towards misogyny and homophobia. 

Understandably,  Virgil has to keep his personal life hidden and that means sneaking around to see his boyfriend. It's in these moments Orlando demonstrates a great subtlety in unmasking Virgil, making him the generous and loving partner he is underneath the necessary facade of a callous cop. There is a serenity between Virgil and Erwan that can only exist behind closed doors. They're trapped and they dream of moving to Toronto to finally live life in the open.

During a private dinner party, Virgil, Erwan and the guests are beaten and some killed during a raid designed to take care of the secret gay cop, his lover, and friends. It's a violent display of hate and anger that make men into demons. J.D. Faith and colorist Chris Beckett choreography the frenzy that takes place with dark colors and brutal hits to the head and splashes of pinkish blood. Orlando requires the reader to look at this attack, forcing eyes upon this travesty, to inform of this kind of tragedy that transcends the pages and echoes through history. This is the consequence of blind hatred gone unchecked and rampant. 

Virgil survives, Erwan is missing and the quest for revenge begins. It sets off a long bloody confrontation after another. His reputation is smeared in the local paper and if dirty cops weren't enough of an obstacle the drug dealers also want to get a piece of a man on the ropes. Virgil is undaunted and his campaign of whip ass is tempered with memories of Erwan that feeds his perseverance. He recalls sweeter moments in their relationship.

Orlando once again taps into the emotional center of the story. Amid the beatdowns and violence lies at the heart the yearning to be free of the oppresion and live life normally with the one you love. Virgil is set on a war path to not only free his lover but free himself as well. In a world that shuns him, berates him, ridicules him he's not only enacting revenge on his attackers he's releasing his tortured soul. 

Orlando describes the story as "queersploitative" and it does harken to a time of exploitative film like 'The Harder They Come' but the themes are firmly relevant in the now. 'Virgil' is a straightforward revenge thriller ripe with socio-political undertones that is powerful, extremely violent and emotionally ravaging. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

PREVIEW: 'Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart Is A Lonely Killer' TPB by Shawn Aldridge and Rapha Lobosco

The Vegas strip heats up as Cassie Hack and her companion Vlad are on the trail of a deadly slasher and meet the lovely, yet lethal Vampirella. The team-up event you’ve been waiting for is a high stakes game of chance when they have to take on The Queen of Hearts!


This Volume collects the complete, 5-issue series by Shawn Aldridge (The Dark and Bloody) and Rapha Labosco (James Bond), and features all of the covers by Jenny Frison, Carli Ihde, Jen Vaughn, Kyle Strahm, Chrissie Zullo, Goran Sudzuka, Michael Dooney, Bully Tucci, and more!

Hack/Slash vs. Vampirella: The Heart Is A Lonely Killer TP
writer: Shawn Aldridge artist: Rapha Lobosco cover: Jenny Frison FC  |  136 pages  |  $19.99  |  Teen+  
COLLECTING ISSUES 1-5












PREVIEW: 'The Ghost, The Owl' Hardcover by Franco and Sara Richard

On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren.


What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together?  Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be?  What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest? An adventure with the most unlikely of pairs, the Ghost, the Owl.

THE GHOST, THE OWL HC
In stores on 5/2/2018 Writer(s): Franco Artist Name(s): Sara Richard Cover Artist(s): Sara Richard
48 pgs./ A / FC                   $9.99