Billionaire Island #1 is available now where all good comics are sold!
A savage satire reuniting the critically acclaimed team behind DC’s The Flintstones, Mark Russell (Second Coming) and Steve Pugh (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass), in an all-new creator-owned series! Welcome to Billionaire Island, where anything goes…if you can afford it. But the island’s ultra-rich inhabitants are about to learn that their ill-gotten gains come at a very high price.
Mark Russell and Steve Pugh. Do I need to say more? The creative team behind the critically acclaimed The Flintstones are reunited at Ahoy! Comics for Billionaire Island, a book about a mega rich getaway island run by Rick Canto, and then man hunting him down!
Mark Russell is an expert at combining satire with compelling story, a trait of his that is showcased in this first issue. There are laughs in the first three introductory pages, followed by heart-breaking reveal in the following two pages that really hit home. The mirroring of the satirical pages and the emotional beats work effectively to get the story flowing. A lot of stories can suffer at the hands of satire, favoring comedy at the expense of telling a story, but this one excels.
There is a unique and compelling story here, which is all too relevant in the current climate. The world is in crisis, there are too many mouths to feed and not enough food to feed them, a concept not too fantastical. On top of that there is a virus which has made a certain percentage of the population infertile, and has fatal consequences in some cases, a situation the world is currently living in. This provides the motivation for the mysterious “Punisher” like character who is tracking Rick down. Mirrored to that is an island inhabited by the mega rich. It’s a poignant story that I am looking forward to seeing play out. My one criticism is that I would have liked to have seen more of the island’s rich inhabitants, but I am happy to wait until the next issue for this!
A lot of the issue is spent in a human hamster cage in which Rick is keeping an accountant, an unruly exec, a journalist and a hipster – who I will refer to as Hipster Hamster – to name a few. Yep, you read that right! This is where Steve Pugh’s art is exhibited. Each character looks unique and the acting work is second to none. Steve Pugh manages to make Rick, who is skinny and balding, look considerably menacing by having him smile in every single panel. My favourite panel of the issue is that of Hipster Hamster rebuking his fellow prisoners for scrambling at cash dropped in to the enclosure by their captor, only to slyly pick a note up and put it in his pocket. I genuinely laughed out loud at the facial expression.
I highly recommend this book for the comedy, commentary, story and art. My favourite line is “We’re all just taking our turn going down the slide”, a deeply distressing statement amid the satire which sums up what this book is about. Mark Russell as an expert at this type of storytelling now, and Steve Pugh is his equal, complimenting the story with top notch art. I love the cover too, which you can see below – the rich destroying the earth for more money.
8/10 A great first issue, I cannot wait for issue 2! This just might be my favourite Mark Russell book and I recommend you all go out and buy it now!