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Project Patron #1 Review

4 min read
The opening is one of the strongest ones I've read for a first issue of a superhero book in quite some time

It takes a team to make a superhero.

Creative Staff:
Story: Steve Orlando
Art: Patrick Piazzalunga
Colors: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Thomas Mauer

What They Say:
Thirty years ago, the world watched in horror as THE PATRON, a hero sent as humanitarian aid from a different dimension, went punch for punch with WOE, a primordial beast and a perfect match for our mighty protector. In the end, hero and villain alike fell…but the Patron returned – and continues to defend us to this day!

At least, that’s what we’ve all been told.

The truth is, the Patron died that day along with Woe. The UN replaced the Patron with a Reploid, designed to mimic the real Patron and continue on his mission of protection.

Today, the Patron Reploid is secretly piloted by an elite team – a team prepared for anything… except for the death of one of their own.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I’ve read a lot of works from Steve Orlando over the years and generally enjoy a lot of what he does. His work with AfterShock has been solid in crafting original works with some fun twists but Project Patron may be the best thing he’s done yet. With a solid concept that’s executed almost perfectly here, it’s a strong read from the first to the last panel. This is certainly helped by Patrick Piazzalunga’s artwork as he delivers something with a lot of great detail and fluidity to the movement in the layouts to really make it work wonderfully. The characters are all distinctive, the locations look great, the way everyone moves about feels like it hits a sweet spot. And the big action sequences deliver a great sense of power and scale to it as well, which is definitely needed here.

The premise for this is laid out clearly and early as the reveal is not really meant to be a surprise, which is welcome. The greatest of all heroes, The Patron, died thirty years ago facing one of the worst threats ever with Woe. But because The Patron was critical to the world being safe, the UN orchestrated a way to bring him back as he burst out of his grave days later, renewed and ready to go. That it’s actually a team of people operating him for the past thirty years is a fun way to work the concept which has been done in different ways over the years. Here, Orlando’s able to focus on the good that The Patron is able to accomplish and why they’ve kept up the charade as the threats keep coming in. But the main man running the operating, Commander Kone, is getting up there in years and knows he has to call it quits soon. And that’s why he’s brought in a psychologist to check out his team.

Operating The Patron is basically working him remotely with some high tech stuff that’s glossed over – thankfully – and we’re introduced to the men and women that run him with distinctive jobs. Commander Kone is the all-around replacement for The Patron in many ways, the heart of service, Nadia operates Kone when they get their strange science missions as she’s brilliant and spends her time in the lab. Davin Dier is the muscles of the group as a former strongman and boxer, so he’s constantly training so that he can handle the epic fights. And then there’s Lena Yvonne, who seems to be the heir to the mantle once Kone departs, as she has a personal connection in the past but also see the humanity in The Patron that needs to come through in order to inspire. And Kone has brought in Moro to secretly spy on everyone as part of the team to understand whether this whole project can survive him. Which looks like might come much sooner than anyone expected.

In Summary:
If you’re going to launch a superhero comic these days, you have to have a lot of really strong elements to it that make it work. Steve Orlando and Patrick Piazzalunga have all the right fixings here and have put together a fantastic start. While there are certainly familiar pieces to it that any longtime reader can see with ease, it’s the execution and the details, the trappings of the world, that elevate it. There’s a lot that can be explored here in so many ways that it really is limitless and I’m excited to see which direction that the team goes with it. The opening is one of the strongest ones I’ve read for a first issue of a superhero book in quite some time and I’ve got my fingers cross that they can deliver on it.

Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: April 7th, 2021
MSRP: $4.99

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