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‘Gregory Graves Vol. 1: Interview With A Supervillain’ (review)

Written by Dan Harmon, Eric M. Esquivel
Illustrated by Brent Schoonover, Ted Naifeh 
Published by Starburns Industries Press

 

“Kill your idols…or he’ll kill them for you.”

Dan Harmon, the neglectful genius behind megahit Rick and Morty, and comic scribe Eric M. Esquivel, creator of the upcoming Vertigo series, Border Town, have joined forces on the book Gregory Graves Vol. 1: Interview With A Supervillain from Starburns Industries Press.

And as you might expect from Harmon, the funny book is inked with a healthy dose of piss and vinegar.

The book follows the story of Gregory Graves, a big baddie locked away for crimes against humanity and his arch nemesis, Luminary, the spandex-wearing do-gooder who put him in superjail.

For untold years Graves and Luminary have been locking horns in battle again and again. And over the years, Graves, a one-time politician with a promising career, has grown weary of it. Not just of the whole supervillain vs. superhero dynamic, but of people in general.

The tale begins in a high security prison where reporter Chet Coleman, the goody-goody alter ego of Luminary, is requested by Graves for a one-on-one interview about his life of crime.

The book explores the lives of both the superhero and the villain and in true Harmon fashion, finds that neither are all that great or all that evil.

Just with superpowers and their own unique sense of justice.

Before he donned orange threads, Graves was a politician. A crooked one, sure, but not altogether evil. So, while he was a bad guy, he wasn’t a bad guy. He gambled, but he taxed gambling; there was prostitution, but he regulated kept the women in the sex industry safe and out of harm’s way; he ran a drug trade, but he improved the quality and safety of recreational drugs.

But for Luminary, there is only black and white, so Grave went to prison for the first time, and thus began the game of hero vs. villain. The game continued until Graves found that both his opponent and the sheeple they were over were both massive disappointments. So the villain preferred to give up.

Perhaps at one point Graves wanted to rule over humanity, but his disappointment in who they chose to worship made his retract his offer. Instead, he opted for the confines of a jail cell.

That is until the hero needed the villains help.

Now Coleman/Luminary needs the help of Graves as Earth is under attack from the Coleman’s own kind, once thought lost, but now on the attack. It creates a moral dilemma for the hero and a need to reconnect with is sworn enemy.

Fans of Dan Harmon won’t have to strain hard to hear the voice of Rick Sanchez between rants of Gregory Graves. In fact, parts of the comic echo Rick and Morty’s ill-fated adventures with the Vindicators, sans the Saw-esque booby traps, the guilty confessions and the diarrhea.

The ink and artwork is reminiscent of Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, almost an homage given the second act of the story.

All in all, a good darkly-woven tale that is distinctly Harmon as he dons his best Alan Moore impression.

 

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