Reviewing: The Paybacks Vol 1

One of the best things to happen at Space City Comic Con was meeting Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal, and Geoff Shaw. These creators have made a fantastic comic called The Paybacks. Vol 1, Payback’s a Bitch is out now. New issues for Volume 2 will be released in July.


The plot, by Mr Cates and Mr Rahal,  is simple but ingenious. Not every superhero can be Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne.  Specifically, they don’t have those guys bank accounts. Yet, a superhero needs to have toys. What happens when they can’t keep up with the payments? I mean, saving people is nice, but do superheroes bill people after. Plus, liability insurance and other factors come into play causing this particular job not to be a lucrative one. In other words, the creative team discovers a side of being a superhero that most of us can relate to.

In this story, there is a shadowy figure who calls in superhero loans. This figure, Mr. Pierce, seizes their assets and in some cases causes others to become basically indentured servants. In other words, some superheroes become repo men. However, someone his beating these heroes to their targets and killing them. When they do, they write, in blood, “Payback is a bitch” on the wall.


This seems like very serious stuff, and it is. However, it is also laugh out loud funny.  People get cut off before telling their origin story and a hero recite Rorschach’s line about being locked up with him right as he gets knocked out.. There is a Russian character that is treated as if he’s not all there till you find out he is entirely fluent in Spanish. He also misquotes famous movie lines in English (my favorite being the line from They Live!).

Not only is the story there, but it is also wonderfully drawn. There is an attention to detail by Mr. Shaw that I often find lacking in other books.  Lauren Affe also gives the story bright colors but with enough shadows to enhance the mood of the story being a thriller.

The only complaint is that the story ends on a giant cliffhanger. We need to know what happens. This book was published by Dark Horse Books. However, Dark Horse canceled the series, but did release the first four books as one volume and gave the creators permission to carry on the story elsewhere.  Heavy Metal will publish the next set of comics and should come out in July.

I’m letting my comic book store know to put it in my pull folder.

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