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Monday, July 2, 2018

Shawn Reviews Josh Howard’s T-Bird & Throttle #1


I’ve been a fan of Josh Howard’s art for years. And it’s always been a dream of mine to see his interpretation of Isis or E’steem on one of my book covers or even in a graphic novel. So when I saw the Kickstarter for his new comic T-Bird & Throttle in November of last year, I was eager to help back the project. Unfortunately, while I wasn’t short any dollars, I was just a day late. After downloading and reading the #0 issue on the Kickstarter page I was bummed that I missed out on getting the first issue.

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to pick up the first issue on Comixology. And after the reading the first issue I’m definitely looking forward to the second. Josh has crafted an intriguing mystery revolving around Mitchell “Mitch” Maddox, the superhero known to Centennial City as T-Bird, the man with an alien engine in his chest. He’s one part Opitmus Prime, One Part and One part Mr. Incredible. A family man, he tries to divide his time between raising his family and trying to protect Centennial City from the bad guys with his sexy redheaded sidekick Throttle. From the #0 issue, it seems like crime fighting is taking its toll on Mitch’s personal life. In spite of his professional success, his wife is having an affair and after Mitch has a run in with a mutated Billy Sneed, we’re given a clue regarding the mysterious alien engine in his chest. The #0 issue ends on a cliffhanger with Mitch going to Amy’s house talking about how he killed them all.

Who did he kill? That’s the question I was eager to get an answer to when I picked up T-Bird & Throttle #1. And while I didn’t get an answer to that question I got a few clues reading about the aftermath of that tragic turn of events.  

Issue #1 opens up right after establishing the mystery of issue #0 and gives us a clue to what happened after Mitch went to Amy’s house. It looks like whoever died was someone close to Mitch. And the Aftermath was quite tragic for a superhero like T-Bird to be contemplating suicide. Those gun scenes were DARK. I could FEEL Mitch’s pain in them, because I’ve been there myself.  

Somehow Mitch finds the courage to keep fighting the good fight. 10 years later, he’s out of the Superhero game. Now a middle-aged man he’s trying to be a hero to his daughter by being the best father he can be. After dropping his daughter Emily off at High School, Centennial City’s fallen hero is working comicons (with an agent who eerily looks like John Byrne) and trying to make it the best way he can. (If he’s working cons life is really ROUGH) It’s at one of the cons that a Starlink employee approaches him and makes a proposal to him. He turns her down, however, he rushes back to his former employer Starlink after reading a comic that makes a mockery of him his origin and the personal tragedy suffered. There his former boss offers to help him return to glory as he make him a proposal to go find a possible second engine on the moon.

As Mitch contemplates the offer to return to his glory days, he heads back to pick up his daughter who has found out about that comic that mocks them. The issue ends with the threat of the Moon Men invading Earth, SJWs and hipsters threatening Mitch, Mitch getting jumped in an alley by the same SJWs and Hipsters, getting a glimpse at that comic that mocks T-Bird, a hint at who died in that personal tragedy, a battered Mitch running into officer Amy and Gruesome telling everyone he’s here.

Who’s Gruesome? And what does he want with T-Bird? What has Amy been doing over the last few years? Are Mitch and Amy Still cool? How does Emily feel about the way her father has been treated? How rough was Emily’s day at school? What will she have to say about Amy? Will Mitch take the offer from Starlink to search for the new engine? All the answers to those questions are in T-Bird & Throttle #2. And Shawn is DEFINTIELY gonna pick up issue #2 in Fall/Winter of 2018 when Josh publishes it.   

T-Bird & Throttle’s first issue is a GREAT comic. Josh Howard does a great job building up the mystery he started in the #0 issue. A good mystery answers questions and has the reader asking more. And T-Bird & Throttle’s first issue answers a lot of the questions I asked in the #0 issue and had me asking more questions as I continued to read the 60-page first issue. The mystery in this space opera is incredibly intriguing, the more I read about it the more I want to know about what happened to Mitch years ago, what happened to his family and I wondered if he’ll go back to Starlink to take on the Moon men again.

In T-Bird & Throttle, Josh does a great job of developing rich, multidimensional characters in a very compelling story. When I was reading the first issue I heard the characters speaking to me, and as I went from panel to panel each scene had art and colors so dynamic and filled with emotion I felt like I was in the middle of an animated movie. The more I saw his art in this comic, I was more eager to see his art on an Isis or E’steem series book cover. Hoping we can make it happen one day.

As a guy who has struggled with depression, anxiety, and periods of long-term unemployment and been through hard times in my own life, I could really relate to Mitch’s story. A lot of what drives Mitch to keep doing right is a lot of what drives me to keep persevering in the face of so many troubles. While Mitch has an engine for a heart, he still has love for all the people in his life. And in spite of all the bad breaks he’s gotten in life, he still wants to do the right thing for his daughter and all the people in his life. That’s what makes him a hero in my book, the fact that he has the character and resolve to keep standing for what he believes in even though he’s fallen on hard times. 

T-Bird & Throttle #1 gets my highest recommendation. This is a comic YOU CANNOT MISS! You can pick up a paper copy on Josh’s website or you can pick up a digital version on Comixology. Let’s #MoveTheNeedle and give this great comic the audience it deserves! 

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