Story By: Richard C. Meyer and Carlos I. Silva
Interior Art by: Ibai Canales
Cover by: Kelsey Shannon
In little over a year, Richard C. Meyer has built a successful Youtube channel under the guise Diversity and Comics. His success has made him a controversial figure, and he has made many enemies in the comic book realm. Due in large part, to the fact that Meyer isn't afraid to speak his mind, and engage in some much needed ego bruising of industry professionals. Meyer has parleyed his Youtube success into two successful crowdfunding campaigns. Iron Sights is the second of those two campaigns, but the first to be release. From what I understand, Meyer released Iron Sights first, as a means to test how to privately distribute a crowdfunded comic without the help of major distributor like Diamond.
In summary, Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Meyer has certainly made a name for himself
However, I'm not here to judge Diversity and Comics, boogeyman that he might be. For the purposes of this review, the old adage applies: trust the story, not the storyteller. So lets delve into the story of Iron Sights.
The story in brief (some spoilers here):
Ramadi, a former solider, is out target shooting one day on the Texas/Mexican border, when he happens to see a young woman about to be executed by a drug cartel. Without thinking, he quickly begins picking off the cartel one by one. However, someone of the cartel are able to get away, taking the girl with them. Ramadi knows he's messed up by getting involved.
Around the same time, we are introduced to Woods, also a former solider. He and Ramadi soon have a chance roadside encounter. They both wear the same skull and crossbones symbol on their person, suggesting they were members of the same military division at one time. The two men don't hit it off at first, and nearly get into a fight.
Later that day, Ramadi returns home, and tells his sister to pack up a bag. Although, it's not very clear, I think Ramadi concocts a story with his friend, A Customs Agent, that they need the house for the night to store some illegal inventory. It's a ruse, though, as Ramadi wants to get his sister out of the house in case the cartel tracks him down. He has good reason to be afraid, as the cartel do show up, early in the morning. Ramadi, however, is able to dispatch the would be killers, although not with out a cost, as his sister is wounded in the attack.
The cartel then tracks Ramadi and sister down to the hospital, but they are rescued by an unlikely savior─Woods.
The next day, the local law come to arrest Woods, as they suspect he’s the one involved in the cartel massacre at the border. Woods is arrested, but in twist, it's his own father who has setup him up. But, with good reason, as the cartel have sent a Mute Assassin to kill Woods. Having Woods arrested, foils the assassin's plan, for the moment.
Evident turns up, that clears Woods of all charges, but when he returns home, he finds the cartel have killed his father in his absence.
Ramadi is able to get his sister safely out of town, and with nothing else to lose, he and Woods decided to take the fight to cartel.
Lots of blood and mayhem ensue, after that, all leading to a surprisingly good twist ending.
So, that's the story in brief. I will say that I did skip a lot in my synopsis, and that's kind of the problem with this book─the whole story needs to be streamlined.
For example, Iron Sighs open with a Cartel Leader basically telling his son that he needs to get his hands dirty if he wants to stay in the family business. The son is a Michael Corleone type, a college boy who serves as the cartel's accountant. While it's an okay scene, it should have been cut. The book should have opened on Ramadi with a rabbit in his gun sights (which happens around page 7). The Cartel Leader does show up later in the book, but his character is completely perfunctory.
Instead, it would have better, I think, to build up the Michael Corleone character. Let's say he’s the one in charge of the young woman execution at the start of the book, but quickly gets in over his head when the shooting starts. This leads him to call in the Mute Assassin character to clean up his mess. ("We have to call in the Mute!").
I would also say that a little too much time is devoted to Ramadi's friend, the Customs Agent. There is a confusing bit with him where he seems to be put on leave in one scene, but is back on the case in the next. Both of those scenes should have been cut. Instead, the Customs Agent should be the guy who Ramadi calls up when he's in a jam.
Another knock against the story, is that both of the main protagonists have the same personality. Cliched as it might be, better to take a page from Men in Black, and have Woods be the stoic, voice of reason, and Ramadi the cocky, young hot shot. Or, have one character mostly silent, and the other a blabbermouth. Instead, both protagonists have this same sort of stoic, yet kind of arrogant personality.
Lots of unnecessary swearing in this story, too. From a storytelling POV, swearing should only be used to either emphasis a point, or to increase/decrease tension.
Another strike against this book, I'm sorry to say, is the art work. It feels rushed. Also, the character of the Mute Assassin looks way too much like Woods. So much so, that I got confused about what was going on at one point. The assassin needed to have more of a distinctive look about him (like a scar around the neck maybe, or a shaved head). The same applies to Wood's dad. He also needed more of a distinctive look (a beard, maybe), because it was, again, hard to follow some of scenes between Woods and his father.
Also, the whole bit about Woods looking older than his dad, needed to be cut. It's just confusing, and the artwork doesn't really reflect that.
That's not to say the entire book is a complete waste, and the story does actually become more focused towards the back half of the book, leading to a very satisfying ending. Still, the first half is a pretty muddled affair.
My final opinion: a good effort, but in the end still needs work.
Hello, my name is
Kelly Logue, and I'm a writer who lives in Alaska. Generally, I write horror or weird fiction, but I am currently working on a superhero title that should be out next year. In addition to this blog, you can follow my adventures on Twitter @KellyLogue3