The Paybacks #2: Review

The Paybacks from Dark Horse has all the earmarks of an enjoyable series, with a premise rooted behind the scenes of the suspension of disbelief required by the super-hero genre. How do super-heroes get such cutting-edge technology? The most logical answer is that they need to take out a loan, which means inevitably, someone will be unable to pay back and have to undergo repossession. This series is based in that premise and when the repossession of physical property isn’t enough, then indentured servitude as a super-human repo man becomes the next logical step. Once you get past the logic, it seems a little absurd, so naturally humor is the result.

Now that we’re all familiar with the premise, let’s review the second issue, shall we?

paybacks2THE PAYBACKS #2

Donny Cates, Eliot Rahal (W)
Geoff Shaw (A)
Lauren Affe (C)
On sale October 21


When the world’s greatest superhero team, the Command, defaults on their loans, their secret underwater base becomes the property of the Paybacks! It’s Night Knight’s first mission with the superhero repo squad, and the foreclosure goes smoothly . . . until it really, really doesn’t. I mean, High Guard can see through walls, you know? How do you sneak past that?

A superhero comedy for the debt-ridden generation!

“I think my favorite thing about the book is that Night Knight doesn’t ride the unicorn. Like, I think that is genius.”—Gerard Way

paybacks preview


This seems like a book out of the late 1980s, almost copying the formula of Giffen and DeMatteis’ Justice League International. The characters are a little hard to differentiate at first, but some start to stand out, such as Night Knight, Miss Adventure and Emory, who accomplishes the team’s goal in a spectacularly genius fashion. The team seems to be very flawed, with questionable morals, and the one with a strict moral code, Night Knight, looks to be forced to adapt his moral code, but I’d like to see him rub off on some of the members that are more of the 90s archetype of the anti-hero. I’m not certain if it’s where the story is going, but it could very easily become a very meta story commenting on the nature of super-heroes over time.

The art is very nice. It has refreshingly cartoonish elements with some of the exaggerations in posing and expression. At the same time, I am never lost in the environments, and the colors make linework that could be muddy and flat work with the medium. If you like the work of Robbie Rodriguez on Spider-Gwen or Joëlle Jones on Lady Killer, then you’ll be receptive to Geoff Shaw’s work here.

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