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Friendo #5 Review

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Alex Paknadel – Martin Simmonds – Dee Cunnife Taylor Esposito – Kim McLean

We’ve reached the end of this epic full frontal fist to our faces.  This makes me sad.  Though, as he wrapped up the script for the series final I can only imagine Paknadel sitting there with a wry smirk thinking “Good Night and Good Luck” to all of us.  Fitting seeing as the film of that name deals, in part, with media responsibility and the happenings when the voice of the media goes off its intended rails.  The theme at the forefront of Friendo isn’t too dissimilar.  Replace GOV with BIG CORP and POLITICS with CONSUMERISM the message has a good carry over.

The most fascinating thing about this series has been the full frontal aspect through which it has grossly and overtly put our stereotypical story characters through the truth ringer.  The point blank like for like characters, rather than analogue, that have been used in the story are what give this series such power.  There’s no guessing at what’s going on, no figuring out what Paknadel is playing at, and certainly no mistaking the events as they unfold.  The only issue one would face is their own disbelief at this being a real time annotation of the state of our society.  Issue 5 closes the series and, as with the entirety of the series, takes one massive swing of the hammer head and strikes the literal head of the final nail in the coffin of not where we’re going, but where we’ve already got a foot in the door.  Our inability to recognize the truth of our thoughts, words, and deeds has gone beyond breathing life into a dangerously superficial society.  It has flat out nurtured it and given a golden crown and throne to ‘status’ and ‘perception’ above reality.

The continued visual presence of the overall message “hey dipshit, this is what has – is – and will continue to happen because you’re all oblivious morons” (translation mine) that runs through the entirety of the series steps it up even further here in the crescendo.  Funny to put it this way, but, if you’ve been paying attention you’d notice the tropes, direct examples, stand ins, and every other form of direct and indirect messaging that the book has been offering.  Sadly the perfect illustrations of everything that is wrong will likely be lost because society is that stupid.  Yup, as a whole we’re pretty damn dumb.  You can point to indifference or “that’s the way it is-ism” but honestly that’s just proving the we’re really damn stupid as a society point.

All of the Hallmarky ‘stop and smell the roses’ type of preachings hold much more truth than what anyone will admit (and if you do see the truth in it society will tell you to get a life or live a little).  Heaven forbid you ‘look before you leap’ ya damn coward.  All of these subtle failsafes for life are barely even brushed aside anymore.  They’re outright ignored.  Yet when we get that Christmas, Birthday, Thank You, etc card we do get that ‘something’ that bursts endorphins in the back of our head that make us feel good.  We do take a breath, stop, focus, and have a genuine moment or even day.  It’s because deep down we have it in us.  Unfortunately we’ve bought and lived as truth what BIG CORP has been selling since before we were even aware it existed.

This is perfectly depicted in Friendo by a damn action figure.  It isn’t a stand in for a real life thing it’s the damned thing. Here at the end we’re curled up beside it as it literally burns.  Everything is sandwiched perfectly from the moment the series opens in issue 1 with the figure in the window to issue 5 with the pile of figures burning and directly releasing the toxicity instead of slowly leeching it through the ground.  The chase of a superficial want that turns into a manufactured (by both us and BIG CORP) need, artificial value placed on things instead of people, dirty politics, corporate greed, the invasive lack of worth we as people are viewed has having from corporations and the media, and on and on goes the list of real life happening now issues that Friendo has dropped in our laps.

At the end we have about the only (and this isn’t a complaint) stereotypical piece of the series.  After it all we’re left broken, empty, and helpless in the face of realization.  Huddled, fittingly, in the fetal position we just let it happen.  Stereotypical in a sense yes, but as the rest of the series portrayed in real talk … a perfect ending because we won’t do a damn thing about it even with the realization.  So OF COURSE our ending is a manufactured moment.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

FRIENDO is wonderful because it is brutally honest. FRIENDO is terrible because it is brutally honest. FRIENDO is wonderful because it is truthful. FRIENDO is terrible because it is truthful. FRIENDO is wonderful because it is everything we need to hear and see but ignore. FRIENDO is terrible because it is everything we need to hear and see but ignore.

FRIENDO is fucking brilliant

Pick up the series finale MARCH 27th! ++++++++++++++++++++

This entire creative team put on a masterful book.  The tale woven by Alex Paknadel is fucking brilliant as I just stated.  Martin Simmonds’ art match with the story perfectly and that is a huge key to FRIENDO being so phenomenal.  There are smooth lines and jagged edges both literally, and nuanced, throughout the series that both reflect and enhance the message being portrayed.  Tossing Dee Cunnife’s colors shine when they’re supposed to and are subtle and secondary when they’re supposed to be.  Purposeful and impactful (chest wound, our rabbit eared friend, the different blazes throughout the books), they take the visuals to another level.  As always Taylor Esposito nails the lettering.  You can feel the corporate shit sliding off, the emptiness in Jerry, and the opera level production of the media coverage’s dialogues throughout the series.  Design elements and spot imagery from Kim McClean have made the static images from this series resonate.  Her covers (#4 especially) drive home everything with the same spirit the full frontal approach of the series hammers with.


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