23rd Oct2018

‘The Raid #3′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alex Paknadel | Art by Budi Setiawan | Published by Titan Comics

The_Raid_3_Cover-A

Last issue, in the common vernacular, it was all kicking off. Good guy, bad guy, didn’t matter, everyone was facing challenges all over the place. Special forces cop Rama, known undercover as Yuda, is still protecting Teja, the cop falsely imprisoned for trying to take down crime boss Bejo. Prison’s not the best place for a cop, obviously. Bejo, though, coming from lowly stock is looked at as something of an upstart among fellow crime bosses, and he has been provoked to his limits by Utomo, a more senior crime boss. Utomo is so busy burning down Bejo’s restaurant he hasn’t realised Bejo has an ace up his sleeve. Two aces, actually, in Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man. Things can only get uglier…

We start with a family feel to proceedings, but in a uniquely The Raid way. Banyu, whose brother Wawan died during the events of The Raid 2 movie, is looking to avenge him and just happens to be face to face in prison with Rama. Holding a cleaver. Bejo, meanwhile, visits his father, still desperate for approval from him. Bejo’s father seemingly detests his son, the path he has chosen, and refuses to accept any money from him. He’s only a street sweeper, but happy in the knowledge his wealth is spiritual. I like the little touch where he points out that Bejo wears gloves all the time to try and maintain a distance from the real world, but that the ‘past clings to us like tar’.

Bejo needs to focus some of that anger, and takes his assassins to Utomo’s restaurant. Time to settle the score. What follows, in grand Raid tradition, is a several page bloodbath, as Hammer Girl, Baseball Bat Man, and The Assassin rip through Otomo, his restaurant staff, even his chefs. Beat that Gordon Ramsey. Brutal, deadly, efficient. Otomo is left crippled, begging for his life. As you can never have too much violence, especially when cleavers are involved, we shift scene to the prison where Banyu is swinging his cleaver at anything that moves. Again, the fight between him and Rama is bloody, brutal, and decisive. Only one survives. One thing with The Raid you swiftly come to realise is that the violence is not just for window dressing. The fighting is brutal and bloody, but it always has deep repercussions. It’s not your average comic book, where villains escape only to return later. Fights don’t end until someone’s dead.

Otomo of course suffers a nasty death in front of a gloating Bejo, but we then get the missing piece of the plot that will finally tie together the Rama story and the Bejo story. A police informant rings Bejo to tell him that Teja, the cop in prison, is talking to the head of the anti-corruption task force Bunawar. This will end up with a trail of corrupt cops leading to Bejo, among others, and a chance for the police to take Bejo down. Bejo has to take out Teja before that can happen, and he has just the three people for the job…

This was the best issue to date, without question. The bone crunching, blood spitting violence was all still in there, the choreography of broken bones, chopped off limbs, and missing eyeballs. But the story and dialogue felt like it had some depth this time, scenes felt better paced and dialogued. I notice Alex Paknadel has replaced Ollie Masters as scripter, and can only assume this is the reason. The art though remains the star here, as Budi Setiawan manages to bring a touch of class to the depiction of violence. Sure, it’s all nasty, but he makes it look so good. Love all the detail in the backgrounds too, to really flesh out that world. Great stuff.

Done wrong, really strong violence in comics can just seem gratuitous and leave a bad taste. Done well, like here, and there is an almost poetic quality to it. A ballet of broken bones, flying bullets, and skull cracking. Love it.

****½. 4.5/5

The Raid #3 is out now from Titan Comics

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