Reading Pile: Jimmy's Bastards Complete Collection HC
As with most Garth Ennis indy titles, I figure most people are either going to immediately be down with whatever the project is or instantly know they can steer clear. Because as with most of his works it's going to be violent, coarse, and chock full of his opinions. Which is all true, as this particular project is a general satire of James Bond and tackles subjects of misogyny, political correctness, and other elements on that spectrum but, let's face it, not too seriously. The core plot revolves around the hundreds of bastard children that main character Jimmy Regent has sired over the decades forming an evil organization to destroy their father, and it briefly features a villain named Bobo The Bastard, The Chimp Clown.
So y'know, don't take any of this too seriously.
Essentially we're presented with the quintessential special agent, a man's man who saves the country every day and doesn't have any moderation in his sexual exploits. We're presented with a pretty great summary of him and his world in the first few pages as he's saving the world's first aerial restaurant from the likes of a team up between Theophilus Trigger and the aforementioned Bobo.
And I kinda love that Trigger's entire gimmick is to just keep saying stuff that might trigger you to somehow incapacitate you?
But Jimmy has no triggers or safe space, saves the day, and is set-up with a new young female partner while the real threat is underway as his offspring gather.
I think one element I really enjoyed is that while Jimmy is an arrogant killing machine with little consideration for all of his actions, he also isn't entirely despicable. He knows exactly what and who he is, and as the story progresses Ennis gives us comical arguments between him and his partner Nancy that flesh out and develop their characters while also giving Ennis a soapbox.
It's all a lot calmer than the opinions that popped up in say Preacher, but then this is a shorter project that can't sacrifice too much time for the discourse because people's faces need to be shot off.
The main push of the plot though hinges on the revelation of something so horrible it actually mentally destroys Jimmy as a person and forces him to change, and it's something that's telegraphed (almost too hard) at the beginning and works well when they roll it out. At least, works well within the logic of the premise, maybe not well within the confines of good taste. It's the kind of thing that of course Garth Ennis would do, and I don't want to spoil it but it then requires Jimmy to have a support puppy for the rest of the book and that's great.
I would also like to say that I absolutely love Russ Braun's art throughout. He's a longtime Ennis collaborator and he's just one of those talents that can tell so much with their facial expressions and layouts that he always makes whatever project he's working on all the more richer. And anytime you can balance action and violence with comedic timing and emoting I think you have a truly magnificent artistic talent.
The HC is a nice oversized package, but it's honestly a little overpriced at $39.99 for nine issues of content (about 240 pages). The two softcovers combined clock in at $30 so you can save some cash that way, but I am a sucker for nice complete editions.
Will this appeal to everyone? Definitely not. I know a bunch of you tuned out immediately once I mentioned Garth Ennis. But if you're an Ennis fan or like the show Archer than this should hit the spot. And if not, oh well. I recall hearing/reading people talk about this saying it ruins James Bond like Ennis ruined superheroes with the Boys and like........get over it?
But then, Ennis and Braun also created a fortress for Bobo, a character who appears for only two pages, that features a watchtower that is also flipping off the world. This was almost specifically made for me on some level, so I may be biased.