He handles the blades and I handle the lazers….and business, but is it good?
Blades and Lazers (Secret Prison)
Written and drawn by: Benjamin Marra
Back up story: Demon Juicin’ written by Keenan Keller and art by Lale Westvind
Blades and Lazers follows the adventures of the brothers named Blades and Lazers. The collection contains the first two issues from Marra, now with a prologue and also a back up story from Keenan Keller and Lale Westvind. The collection is sized at 9×12 and printed with 2-Color offset throughout with fluorescent pink and blue spot colors.
Blades and Lazers is a style of comic that very much hinges on Marra hitting the perfect balance of fun, humor and absurdity. Any one element out of balance and the tone of the book could switch quickly to inauthentic and off putting. Marra is able to obtain a constant pace of one liners, decapitations and lo-fi elements that avoid that very trapping.
“Life is meaningless in the Perifery . There are no rules…only chaos!”. Marra portrays a realm of obscene insanity while in contrast crafting characters who feel so unimpressed and underwhelmed with the chaos all around them. This gives Blades and Lazers an added layer of humor to achieve as the over the top and attitude tinged dialog is all the more pleasing. Marra’s approach to the characters and dialog hit in almost every instance. It is easy to picture any 80’s action star spouting the line “Hit him with the blades, bro!!”
The standard story acts as a vehicle for Blades and Lazers to fight big alien monsters/demons. While the basic A-to-B of the plot is straight forward, Marra drops in a lot of world building and wacky sci-fi and roleplaying elements along the way. There is a great sense that even in this smallest of stories, it’s possible Marra has a vast infinity of worlds and available lore he could visit in future stories.
With a comic titled Blades and Lazers you better hope there is some over the top action and some blades and some lasers. Marra’s exaggerated motion and brutality are highlighted in some great fights throughout the book. As expected, Blades stabs things and Lazers shoots things, and both sever things. It’s not pretty and it’s not supposed to be; it’s raw and simplistic. You can follow all the characters’ actions and movements. The character acting is often so exaggerated that an additional layer of humor and context is achieved from Marra. The neon pink shading plays into the cheap sci-fi appeal—Marra does a wonderful job of achieving that B-movie environment with his character and world design. Geometric spaceships, barren landscapes, and a woman general sporting a v-shaped body suit with hair that could kill.
Is It Good?
The main thing you need to know about Blades and Lazers is it’s fun. Keller and Westvind’s gender-bending back up is just as insane and violent as the main story. You will read it, you will smile, you will laugh and when you are done you will want to go slash some stuff up with a sword or question your lack of sick shades. The story and dialog wont change your life, but give Blades and Lazers a chance and it might change your view on what comics can and should be.