Set within the world of The Raid 2 movie, the debit issue of The Raid comic wastes no time and pulls no punches (sorry) setting up nuanced character arc and complicated emotional narrative depth, instead it gets straight to the meat and gristle you’d hope for from a book featuring Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man that’s set predominantly in a prison full of meatheads – every cop’s favourite place to end up.
If you know The Raid, all but one of the characters are existing favourites you’re more than happy to see rendered immortal in Budi Setiawan’s red raw, visceral hellscape. From the nightclub to the police headquarters, and back to prison, the gritty panels are steeped in an almost tangibly chaotic colour palette, with a composition that allows you to soak up as much of Rama’s frustration, Bejo’s arrogance, and new addition Teja’s jarring naivety as is physically possible from a page, especially when the majority of the pages, much like I imagine The Raid screenplay, feature little to no actual dialogue.
This first issue literally bursts with blood, guts, gore, and the kind of violence that’s not only helpfully accompanied by an x-ray of each particularly hideous injury, but that makes you wince and check all your own teeth are still in your head.
The bluntness of the exchanges between characters and bold proclamations of them as “NOT. TO. BE. FUCKED. WITH.” and “CURRENT STATUS: FUCKING FURIOUS” delivery just the right level of vague and sarcastic humour needed to offset the heaviness of the all out war this book is largely composed of.
The Raid is a video nasty of a comic, that you’d secretly share with your mates and hide from your mum, and I for one can’t wait to see which of my bones and joints are caused sympathy pain reading #2. Sophie Francois