Patience! Conviction! Revenge! #1 Is Weird Western Fun

by Rachel Bellwoar

It was the same thing with his Black Mask series There’s Nothing There, but if there’s one thing you can count on with a Patrick Kindlon story it’s personality. Human. Robot. Doesn’t matter. His characters have it, so much so that the first page of Patience! Conviction! Revenge!  consists of narration and establishing shots. Robot Paul appears in a panel towards the bottom, but you can’t tell he’s alive, and Renny’s unintelligible as a human in his panel (three years without human contact will do that, you know). That leaves Renny’s voice to convince you to keep reading. In his own words, “Every jerkoff’s got a story but how many do you wanna hear?” If you’ve ever watched TV, you know the allure of the cocky straight talker, and Renny’s strong opinions and tell-it-like-it-is bravado make him an instant hit on the page before you’ve met him in-person.

Like the recently wrapped Vertigo series, Deathbed, Patience! Conviction! Revenge! features an egotistical main character who’s overly concerned with how his life story gets told. Truth must be sacrificed for what’s entertaining, according to Renny. “Lie to me,” he tells Robot Paul, and later, when he goes into more detail about his childhood, Renny’s a man of his word.

Marco Ferrari is the artist on this series and his layouts, combined with Patrizia Comino’s colors, are something to see. You have characters, like Warning Robot, breaking free of panels and looking 3D. For the panels depicting Renny’s past, the visuals conflict with Renny’s version of events, but each panel is a little lower than the next so it’s this condensed illustration of Renny’s corruption from baby to teenager.

Up until this point, Comino’s colors have reflected temperature – the reds of Renny’s workshop, the yellows of the Mojave Desert, and the periwinkle blues of a cave – but this memory sequence stands out because it uses colors we haven’t seen anywhere else in the issue. Letterer Jim Campbell places his speech bubbles horizontally, to give the impression of motion that’s integral to a desert-set series. Other times it’s this sense of enveloping conversation, rather than two people talking at each other (though you could also interpret the connecting tails as Renny biding his time until it’s his turn to speak again).

Present-day Renny is a cowboy in a weird western (Ferrari’s cover shows cords and iPods being used as lassos). It’s 2040, he’s got a robot army, and wants to use them for revenge against his old job for firing him. Renny may be full of himself but he’s likable. He created a robot in Robot Paul who isn’t a “yes man” but has opinions and a journey of self-discovery to undergo.

The Renny we meet in his memories, while vague, doesn’t seem like a great guy, and if phase one of Patience! Conviction! Revenge is patience, then this is where the series asks for it of readers. We don’t know exactly what happened at his old job (the solicitation goes into a little more detail) or if Renny’s seeking out vengeance for the right reasons (and maybe there are no right reasons, but that’s not the point right now), but there is a moment this issue where we see how spiteful he can be, and it’s not very defensible.

Ferrari’s robot designs are gloriously eclectic – a rocket ship with legs, a cartoony looking cowboy dog, the cutest mini robot you’ve ever seen, and a “motorcycle” Renny rides that has the coolest profile, in motion.

While the end of the issue contains what you might call typical bonus content, there are some real goodies inside, from seeing how Ferrier interpreted Kindlon’s script, for some of the opening visuals, to his pencils for the two-page spread at the beginning, where you meet Renny and Robot Paul. Comino’s colors for that scene enhance the storytelling, by showing you where to focus and allowing Renny’s workshop to feel truthfully cluttered without the clutter becoming distracting, but they don’t necessarily show off Ferrari’s detail work, so it’s neat to have both versions.

Whether you usually go for westerns, I think the real indicator for whether you’ll enjoy this issue is how you feel about Kindlon’s voice for Renny. For me, watching someone try to act like noon is a reasonable time to travel through a desert is the best thing in the world and Ferrari and Comino only make it better.

Patience! Conviction! Revenge! #1 is available now from Aftershock Comics.

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