This week, we go back in time (both in terms of the story and the title’s release itself) with Rum Row, a 1930’s set action adventure by Andrew Maxwell, Michele Bandini and their creative teams which follows an action packed adventure occurring on a blimp high in the sky. Will we toast to this comic’s great quality or will we need a stiff drink to forget about it?
Publisher: Grenade Fight Inc.
Writer: Andrew Maxwell
Artist: Michele Bandini (Art), Derek Dow (Colours), Adam O. Pruett (letters), Sonia Harris (Logo & Design)
Price: £1.49 on ComiXology
Taking place in the heady, booze free world of the Prohibition Era, Rum Row tells the story of the Duchess, a zeppelin doubling as a floating speakeasy amongst the clouds above the United States, as well-to-do revellers blow off some steam with a drink or two without the worry of the law catching up to them. However, when a squad of lawmen infiltrate and raid the party in the hopes of catching those responsible, the captain and crew of the Duchess must play a very risky game in order to not only free themselves from this predicament, but also come away with something of particular value as well.
Rum Row is an incredibly fun, enjoyable and gripping comic as it offers readers an action-oriented adventure which reads in a similar vein to an old fashioned pulp comic such as the Shadow. The story itself, based loosely on real life events of America’s Prohibition era, is incredibly compelling and feels well written, running at a nice pace and not once feeling slow or sluggish during the read. Indeed, Andrew Maxwell seems to perfectly present an obvious abundance of research on the period, as well as a great deal of heart and soul, throughout the entire story with much of the title, such as the opening party aboard the Duchess, looking quintessential 1930’s. This is further exemplified by the characters, many of whom look and feel incredibly realistic for the time period, further confirming Maxwell’s obvious affinity for that era (as is shown in his end of issue notes). All in all, there is little wrong with the writing here as it the issues comes across with few, if any, problems.
That said, the same could very much be said about the art, as Michele Bandini provides a beautiful style which is incredibly fitting for when Rum Row is set. Bandini provides artwork which looks very much like another Prohibition set titles, Theatrics, but with more of a Joe Madureira flair, which is enhanced by the tremendous colour scheme implemented by Derek Dow, whose incredibly deep palette gives the book a rich, and almost dreamlike, look. This pair’s collaboration is no better seen throughout this issue than during the ‘reveal’ of Rum Row, which looks terrific and very much worth the almost double page spread. Meanwhile, Sonia Harris’ design work for Rum Row matches the interiors and cover perfectly, with all the logo’s looking fantastic and in keeping with the tone of the whole book. Finally, to cap it all off, this issue treats readers with a nice 5 page story by writer and artist which, while not being thematically connected to the main story, is still a beautiful and worthy inclusion.
In short, Rum Row is a fantastic comic. Smartly written and gorgeously drawn, Maxwell, Bandini and Co. have produced a truly memorable issue which, while working really well as a one-shot, feels as though it has legs to keep on going, and deservedly so. This is a comic worth looking and, hopefully, has further installments on the way because, if there is, I’d drink to that!