Saturday, 19 December 2015

Big Man Plans

Eric Powell & Tim Weisch

‘Big Man Plans’ is a revenge story of a small man that has been beaten up and mistreated all this life, making him bitter and super-violent. As a child, the only true sympathetic voices came from his father and a girl named Holly, who he of course falls in love with. We join him as he starts on a path of vengeance. The narrative goes back and forth between his wreaking vengeance and flashbacks to an unhappy and abused past, giving a foundation as to why he is who he is and why he says the tagline, “I’m here to rage and get respect.”

Eric Powell’s art mostly concentrates on faces and figures and the violence drawn is surely the kind that people demanding The Comics Code couldn’t have dared imagined in their wildest nightmares. That is, it’s outrageous, gory and extreme. The flashbacks, however, are conveyed in more detail, because it was surely a bigger world for him back then, not just concentrating upon enacting revenge on hideous wrongdoers. He learns early on to react with double the force that those that beat on him and insult him expect. He is probably afflicted with some form of PTSD long before he is enlisted by the army for secret missions that take advantage of his size. And there is some comedy with vignettes of people he spared telling their kids a bogeyman story of “the tiniest version of death.”

It is these flashbacks that give pathos to the story, giving its single-minded intent to depict graphic violence some weight. Of course, the antagonists are far deserving of what they receive, being despicable in the extreme, so we don’t really have to question the revenge visited upon them too much. The bitter and visceral nature of the story scours the page, leading the narrative by force away from the sadness deep down that our protagonist carries. Relevantly, there is a look of fear and sadness on his face when, as a child, he first fights back (“Chin up.”). It’s in these details that Powell and Weisch’s stripped-down brutal vengeance tale substance. It’s a story of someone that never had a chance and the unending nature of violence.

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