After far too long a break Andrew Maxwell’s Rum Row is back with a new issue and a new artist in the form of Trolltooth Wars Gavin Mitchell. This tale of prohibition speakeasies based in airships is one of those under-rated gems of indie comics, and we hope with this new direction it looks set to gain a whole new audience!
Publisher: Grenade Fight Ink
Writer: Andrew Maxwell
Artist: Gavin Mitchell, Adam Pruett
For those not in the know, the world of Rum Row takes the classic conventions of prohibtion-era pulp comics and transposes it to the skies, with speakeasies now in airships above the New York streets. In amongst this motley bunch of thieves and villains we meet The Captain Anne Blanchard, a female club owner who is attempting to sell plans to the NYPD’s top secret Albatross to the highest bidder. all the while being pursued by Jack Tinson and the NYPD.
Issue #3 starts with a bang as Tinson and his partner are being thrown from a plane and the action doesn’t let up from there. As the story builds towards the Black Auction of the Albatross plans everyone is looking to out manoeuver each other in a classic game of cat and mouse.
Rum Row is one of those books which takes a familiar concept and gives it just enough of a tweak to make it into a truly unique idea. With this original airborne world in place, it then allows writer Andrew Maxwell to explore a myriad of ideas within it as he has created an incredibly rich and fertile world to grow stories within. While the concepts in Rum Row are classic, the idea of having everything in the sky is just such a strong notion as it gives the gangsters a superiority and literal high ground which sees the under dog cops battling not only their criminal intent, but altitude as well, in order to stop them.
The roster of characters that Maxwell has assembled are a superb bunch, from dastardly Oriental drug lords to mechanical Nazis and he could not have picked a better artist to bring them to life than Mitchell. Gav has taken on the reigns of Rum Row from Michele Bandini, who is off working for Marvel. He does a super job of matching Michele’s polished style, but at the same time brings his own sense of character to the piece. Instead of having a slightly Oriental/Manga style to it, Gav brings a more European almost Band Dessinee feel to it (reminding us a lot of Atom Agency in places). Meanwhile his ability to mix line work and colour seamlessly (by virtue of him doing it all) gives the book a really coherent feel. It certainly allows him to bring texture and depths to scenes in a way which might not have happened with a colourist or inker who was not used to his work (check out some of the process pages in the back to see how much extra Gav includes at the colouring stage).
With only one issue remaining on the Black Auction plot, this is the perfect change of pace and artist needed to get this book over the line. Thanks to a strong world, a fun plot and some truly stunning artwork, Rum Row is a book which really is heading into the stratosphere!