If it's crap ... We'll tell you
This is a non-spoiler review of the first Luther Strode series.
First going into the Luther Strode, you may think it's Kick-ass with Superpowers, but if you look at just beneath the surface it's actually a variation of a Slasher flick disguised as Superhero origin. That is actually the intentions of the creative team( all three people on the project have a level of input that is surprisingly deep), that you could miss but once you know, it gives the comic a whole new slant. The comic starts off with the brick wall of muscle known as Luther Strode, standing in a room full of carnage and covered in blood, with his back to us. This is simply showing the ultra violence that will become second nature with this series, this is not to be "shocking" but to show that "Just because this issue doesn't have it doesn't mean we won't get to that point". Then it backs up to show skinny, nerdy Luther Strode, who has just received the mail order Charles Atlas workout guide Hercules Method, an isometric workout regimen guide, that he starts right away. As he trains with it, he discovers he's got a monstrous hunger, can predict someone's movement when focusing on them, is inhumanly strong and then able to react to unseen threats. This comes with a side effect, he's starting to see people as only their musculature or lack thereof and feels like killing every single one of them.
Luther is a nice kid (like Raimi's Peter Parker nice), especially as one coming from a background in abuse from his father. Due to this he attempts to avoid becoming a jerk or a bully, and is protective of the people in his life. especially the women. This builds a dynamic where we see the training regiment has actually made him hyper aggressive as well as superhumanly strong. Though he hasn't put two and two together in this mini, he's weary of how this violent side of him may manifest. As the story goes along, he has to give in for various reasons, mostly revovling around his supporting cast who are fantastic mix of characters. He lives with his mom ,who is obviously on edge, as she's a victim of most of the physical abuse obtained from their past. Luther's got a best friend named Pete, who's the loudmouthed, overweight and nerdy kid(Think more Ganke from miles morales Ultimate Spidey, than Jonah hill) . The guy's so nerdy he does the Vulcan greeting when casually going over to his friend's house. Luther's love interest is Petra, a fiery(down to the red hair), punk looking girl who's dug Luther since before the story begins. In fact, she gave signals but Luther didn't notice, though he dug on her just as much. She's smart, as well as sassy and almost comes off as one of the boys in the scenes she has with the two friends. Petra is the girl you wish you could have met in high school, if not to date, then to at least be friends with.
The threat of the story line comes from a man who is only refereed to as the Librarian, he's unfeeling and uncaring only and wants one thing, that would spoil the mystery so i won't go into it. His motives are unclear, but this man steals almost every scene he's in with his business like suit, speaking about respectful conduct and then doing inhumane violence(most of which is done off panel and we only see the results). His background isn't given, but what is implied about it is as scary as most of the carnage shown; and not even just for us, but for Luther, who he's specifically targeting. He's the 80's supernatural Slasher flick killer in some ways, with all the mind and mannerisms of a gentlemen.
The most Bizarre scene with the Librarian
Final comments and rating:
What makes Luther so good, is that it walks that line of a slasher and superhero so well that if you're not looking for the horror elements, you may miss them (Luther goes to Voorhees high, His last name is Strode, the mask and outfit he wears looks like weird modernized mash up of Jason and Micheal; he's so deadly he can kill someone by headbutting them hard enough and he's gained an urge to brutally kill everyone.). If you pick it up as a superhero book, while in the world of Garth Ennis and Mark Milliar it may seem run of the mill, in a few ways but it's very interesting as it's got a lot of mystery and isn't your typical superhero origin. If you pick it up for what it was written as, it's a good genre bender that may get you hyped up for the sequel.
My personal pick for mini series of 2011 (Sorry Scott Snyder's Severed) and BETTER THAN SEX. If you can pick up the individual issues as they have awesomely done BACK COVERS
The creative team actually did a few podcast detailing the behind the scenes stuff, the cultural references(from the Akria & JC's The Thing Posters; to the stuzzy and other iconography they stuffed in) and even the liberties the artist took from the writer's descriptions or the colorist took from the artist's sketch to convey mood. You can find those here:
Warning, they cut off VERY abruptly, whoever edited it did a bad job and it makes it seem like the conversation got cut off at the last word. The first podcast is light on spoilers, but the next six go deeply into each issue of the comics, with the eightieth and final about the sequel series The Legend of Luther Strode.