BOOM! Studios has a history of publishing books with amazing premises and sometimes disappointing execution. I have bought at least four of their titles, and three of them have been purchases that I regretted. Freelancers, however, is light-hearted fun from beginning to end.
Val and Cassie, like a lot of twenty-somethings, are trying to grow their brand in L.A. Unlike the usual actors, writers, and bloggers, they’re freelance fixers/bodyguards/bounty hunters. It’s a different skillset, but one that they grew up developing. Chapter one lets you in on their backstory – they were orphans who were taken in by a benevolent sensei who taught them all kinds of survival skills. The two friends are at the bottom of pretty much every ladder imaginable – they are broke, they aren’t famous, they don’t get big jobs. However, some chance encounters during a routine job lead them down a trail of crime and corruption that they can’t ignore.
The story itself isn’t doing much new, and it doesn’t have to. There are only a few basic plots with myriad iterations; what counts most is point of view and execution. Freelancers is fun, bright book (see Phil Noto’s variant for issue 1). Covey’s art and the work of the colorists’ work gives the book a look similar to Rockstar’s GTA video game covers and posters. Freelancers is less pessimistic than Rockstar’s games, though. Val and Cassie are sexy (everyone is good looking – it’s L.A.), witty, deadly, and they’ve got each other’s backs. You root for them because they seem good.
This book probably didn’t make any best-of lists, but it was an entertaining read. As of this morning, Freelancers is less than $3 on Amazon. For less than the price of a single issue of a Marvel or DC book, you get a complete story plus bonus art and covers.