We had a bit of fun with Boom! when they released their teaser images for Freelancers. The girls were pretty generic and over-sexualized. So expectations for the series were pretty low. Figured best case scenario there would be some fun action scenes or maybe an interesting plot. I never expected there to be anything more than fluff and some gratuitous T n A. However Freelancers may be one of the biggest surprises of the year. It is actually good!
Cassie and Val are Freelancers – bounty hunters who take dangerous jobs for rich clients who prefer to remain anonymous. Sometimes they are looking for a person. Sometimes they are recovering stolen property. And sometimes, just sometimes, they might actually get paid!
More important, Cassie and Val are orphans who were raised in an orphanage/kung fu academy. They were trained from sun up to sundown to be Freelancers. It is all they have known. Growing up in those circumstances led Cassie and Val to be best friends. This theme of friendship and devotion runs deep through the comic. All they have in life is each other. Their boss doesn’t give them enough money. They have no friends. They don’t even have a cat. All they have in life is each other.
Writers Ian Brill and Matt Gagnon each craft stories (there are two separate stories in this issue) which flesh out the bond between the girls while reveling in the mayhem which is destined to ensue when a book includes the phrase “kung-fu orphanage”. Like a 70′s exploitation movie, there is the perfect blend of action and plot. I was reminded of an updated version of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, with a bit of Foxy Brown swagger thrown in for sass.
Headed in to the book, what I was most concerned about was the art. As I mentioned above, the teaser images were over-sexualized and did not give me any confidence that the characters would be treated with any kind of respect. However Joshua Covey and Felipe Smith produce characters which are healthy and attractive without being hyper-sexual. Confidence is illustrated with more emphasis than sexuality. Cassie and Val come off as characters who are in control of their own destinies as opposed to being nothing more than eye-candy for our entertainment.
Freelancers may not be terribly groundbreaking in its plot. However it is a fun action romp with a couple of female leads who have attitude and skills to get them into and out of just about any kind of trouble. Freelancers is a great surprise and well worth the $1 price of admission. Better yet, it is worth returning for next month’s full-priced second issue.