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Bratpack by Rick Veitch
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A lot of very good writing and art here. It's rather misanthropic and lacking in fun, though. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
Rick Veitch's limited series Bratpack belongs in that 90s genre of superhero trope-twisting dystopias, as innovative writers behind comics like Watchmen and Marshal Law sought out a growing adult market that was eager to take a closer look at the dark, real-world implications of a world full of costumed vigilantes. In Bratpack, the main focus is on the Sidekick, and the awkward nature of having a young kid in tights running around with hardened crime-fighters. Veitch pulls the curtain back to reveal the unsavory behind-the-scenes superhero maintenance and "bonding" that goes on, sure to entertain the most jaded comic-book fan. Considering the multitude of superhero films crowding the theaters these days, Bratpack may still hold some relevance, even if there are fewer challenged comic book tropes these days. ( )
  smichaelwilson | Jan 6, 2017 |
It doesn’t require a lot of thinking to come to the conclusion there’s something weird about the superhero sidekick. The fact that brooding crimefighters prefer to hang out with boys and girls in their early teens, gladly putting them in mortal danger, is rather unpleasant when you think about it. Also, the sidekick is more expendable than the hero, and is often killed off to inject new life into storylines, or just to prove that danger and suspense is real. Batman is ticking off Robins, and in a famous example from the early nineties, a poll was held among readers whether Jason Todd, the second Robin should be killed or not. The reading audience wanted blood – Jason died in the next issue.

The potential abusiveness of the hero / sidekick relationship has been explored several times in post-modern superhero comics like Top Ten or Astro City, but Rich Veitch goes all the way with it in this album, creating a grotesque, distorted superhero world. A generation of sidekicks, the so called “Brat Pack” have just been killed off, and merchandise calls for a quick replacement. A quartet of starry eyed teens are recruited through a church and the process of being “broken in” starts. Veitch’s story is pretty crude and aims for deconstruction and low blows. One of the heroes is a pedophile, one a white power sadist, one is teaching sex as a woman’s best weapon and one is a drug addict.

There are interesting things in here, but the story doesn’t quite work, and it pretty quickly becomes evident that some of the storylines are much more developed than others – a problem because most of the spreads are divided into four parts, one for each sidekick. All in all, the setup is way better than the execution. ( )
1 vote GingerbreadMan | Oct 31, 2011 |
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