"I've got a lot of names, depending on who you ask. I'll let you call me Chuck.
I kill for a living. There's a lot of guys in my line of work, and they're all cheaper than me. If all you want is to put a hole in somebody, you hire one of them.
But if you want to take out a tank crew of battle-hardened scum and fall asleep knowing they died screaming -- you call good ol' Weapon Brown."
There are few things that leave me speechless upon encountering them. WEAPON BROWN is one.
I ran into this unique comic online by pure chance one day, and it's one of the very, VERY few things that I have to say is incredibly awesome even at the same time I'm not entirely sure I *like* it.
This is the classic comics page run straight into Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and cranked up to 11. In the postapocalyptic world of Weapon Brown, the Earth is nearly unlivable -- a harsh wasteland where few survive and those few must be hardened, lucky, well-armed, or all three. Many of them are no longer truly human.
In the center of this is Weapon Brown, aka "Chuck", the most dangerous mercenary on the planet... he hopes, anyway.
You read that right. Little quiet Charlie Brown has been turned into the grim action Anti-hero... and it WORKS. It's wrong, it's twisted, it's bizarre... but it WORKS.
"Peanuts" is far from the only comic skewered (or incinerated, blown up, disintegrated, poisoned, mutated, irradiated, etc.) in Weapon Brown; everything from Beetle Bailey to Little Orphan Annie and the Wizard of Id and Blondie shows up in one distorted form or another, and it's clear fairly early on that Chuck's eventual nemesis will be this world's terrifyingly psychotic version of Calvin and Hobbes.
Brown takes what seems to be a routine track-and-kill contract, and ends up in the middle of something he doesn't understand… but it's connected with the past that made him what he is now, and with the nearly all-powerful Syndicate.
The Syndicate itself is one of the eyebrow-twitchingly funny parts of Weapon Brown, as it is of course a reference to the "syndicated comics" from which its characters are primarily ripped and tortured, and includes on its board of directors the Pointy-Haired Boss from Dilbert, Mr. Dithers of Blondie (unfortunately now deceased), the King of Id, and others (I think one of them is Mary Worth!). The Syndicate controls most sources of food remaining in the world… but there are signs of a new source, and "Chuck" may have the only clue to finding it.
This is NOT -- I repeat, *NOT!!* -- something safe for work, or for your kids, and maybe not for YOU, if you have delicate sensibilities or "triggers" on any of the grimness of the world. As I implied earlier, I'm not even sure it's for ME. Weapon Brown doesn't shy away from sexual themes and imagery (some of it very triggery indeed), violence and gore galore, or other disturbing imagery. I often found myself simultaneously revolted and fascinated, and sometimes laughing at the same time. Reading Weapon Brown was a very surreal experience for me.
The *ARTWORK* in Weapon Brown is amazing -- a style perfectly suited to the story, and *DETAILED* in a way I simply did not expect in what is, at its base, a deconstructionist parody of the funny pages.
I can't help but give Weapon Brown 5 stars; it accomplishes what it sets out to do, and does so at a level that can stand proudly next to any other graphic novel published. I'm still not sure that I LIKE it... but it's brilliant, and that's a combination that is rare indeed.