Published on August 5th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne0
Airboy #3 Review
Fed up with the 21st century, Airboy somehow whisks James Robinson and Greg Hinkle back to his time – war time. In the blackened destruction that is London in WW2, Airboy introduces James and Greg to his nearest and dearest and their reality. Can human wreck James Robinson find redemption fighting steampunk Nazis alongside his artist sidekick Greg Hinkle?
Airboy continues to be a rambunctious, depraved and unpredictable read, unapologetically showcasing sex, drugs, drinking, and Greg Hinkle’s enormous winkle (even drawing real outrage from the Trans community last month after an admittedly tasteless joke on Robinson’s part).
But it’s not just bad behaviour for the sake of it, there’s heart to it too. This issue continues the examination/very public character assassination of James Robinson by James Robinson. A bizarre coincidence (or foreshadowing?) leads Robinson to open up to Airboy about his troubled soul to which Airboy decides to make it his mission to help him fix his life – somehow!
As in the other two issues, Robinson doesn’t linger on the emotional side to this story for long, leaping from that scene into another one of Greg Hinkle in the buff. Those scenes are karma for the ribbing he gets from Airboy’s cadre: Skywolf, the Flying Dutchman (“Are you really Dutch?” “That’s why I’m not the Flying Belgian”), the Iron Ace (“Go fuck yourself”), Black Angel and Valkyrie (“the most disgusting, repulsive man”). Not that he doesn’t deserve the business after what he does, mind (you’ll see)!
Hinkle’s art is unsurprisingly first rate once again. To emphasise Robinson and Hinkle’s “strangers in a strange land” vibe, they’ve been coloured in the series’ trademark pale green while the rest of Airboy’s world is in full colour (though as it’s set at night, that world is mostly black). There’s an absolutely brilliant splash page of our trio running away from a Nazi fighter plane across rooftops too. I also loved the shout out to Mike Mignola who is THE guy you think of when you hear the words “steam-punk” and “Nazis”!
The irony (and brilliance) of this series is that the star is James Robinson despite being called Airboy. And if there’s a fault with this issue, it’s that there’s not enough Robinson and a bit too much of Airboy, the bland pilot hero who nobody today could possibly give a fig for. I can understand why this is though, BECAUSE this series is called Airboy and it wouldn’t be fair not to focus on him for a little bit.
I’ve said it of the last two issues and I’ll say it again for the third: Airboy is one of the best comics of the year (barring that faux pas in the last ish) and the third issue is another great addition to the series. Excellent writing, outstanding art, funny and original – Airboy is a must-read!
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Greg Hinkle