10th Sep2018

‘The Raid #2’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ollie Masters | Art by Budi Setiawan | Published by Titan Comics


I enjoyed the last issue, without loving it. Considering the two films worth of material that this book can pull from, the first issue felt surprisingly lightweight. What it did best was to replicate the style and feel of the films. Very violent, very visual, very fast panel cuts, and that all worked very well indeed. As the blurb told us last issue, this story takes place during the events of The Raid 2, so if you’ve seen that film characters and events may take on deeper meaning, but it’s still very readable as a stand-alone book in its own right.

So, in a nutshell, last issue saw our hero, Jakarta special forces officer Rama undercover in prison where he is trying to take down the criminal empire of big boss Bejo, who runs most of Jakarta. Unfortunately for him, his cover may have been blown and he is now known to be police. Well, that’s awkward. Our second hero is Teja, a Police officer so fed up with the corruption that keeps Bejo in place that he decides to launch his own unsanctioned raid on Bejo’s nightclub, where he captures him and takes him to the police station. Job done, right? Actually, no. Bejo walks with the flip of a wad of cash, and Tejo is sent to prison. Boo. We also get a glimpse of Bejo’s feared enforcers, The Assassin, Hammer Girl, and Baseball Bat Man. Deadly they may be, but terrible at choosing villain names.

We start with two intercutting scenes that have more than a touch of black humour about them. We witness, mostly off panel, the matter of fact way that Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man go about their business as they conduct a hit, and we see perhaps what drives Bejo to become a crime boss. His new restaurant venture is stepping on the toes of another boss, Utomo, who makes some less than subtle digs at Bejo’s humble background. That’s not going to end well. Enough foreplay, what about Teja and Rama, both now holed up in the same prison. Rama, still under the fake name Yuda, has an idea that can protect known police officer Teja, and protect his cover. Teja must be seen to be paying protection money to Rama, who then has a valid reason to protect him inside. Best way to do this is with a very public display, and we get treated to 4 pages of brutal fighting, as Rama makes it very clear that Teja is not to be touched. Teja is safe, for now.

Turns out that Rama is protecting Teja on two levels, both physically inside and by reaching out to his colleagues outside. He is setting up a chance for Teja to talk to Bunawar, a clean cop, and earn his release by giving up all the corrupt cops he knows about. Seems like a plan, though Teja is still worried Bejo will find him on the outside. Bejo, though, has his own problems. His feud with Utomo, a more powerful boss, is escalating, culminating with Bejo’s restaurant being burned to the ground. You won’t be surprised to know a phone call has been placed to a certain deadly duo, and the turf war is about to escalate big time.

This was a stronger issue than last, with the same brilliant visuals but now with a more complete story, more depth across the board. The two plots moved forward nicely, and I enjoyed the added depth being given to Bejo. Not just a vanilla bad guy, but one with his own problems, and seemingly driven by his humble origins to prove himself. Teja is a good cop completely out of his depth, and only Rama is a little one dimensional, perhaps too perfect at times. A fine script, but gorgeously brought to life by the beautifully stylised art of Budi Setiawan, and the fantastic use of colour by Brad Simpson. His use of red during certain scenes can tell a story without any dialogue at all.

This issue really had the feel of a crime thriller, full of flashy visuals, great characters, and nice storylines. It packs a perfect punch.

**** 4/5


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