"Renato Jones: One %" #1 from Image Comics -
"Renato Jones deserved to live. His very name means 'Rebirth.' And he can live again...Through you. But everything has a price. So Earn it!" - Kaare Kyle Andrews
The man called Renato Jones grew up partially on the streets of Jakarta in Indonesia, destitute, hungry, struggling day in and day out to survive with his loving adoptive mother, and trying to avoid the wrath of his greedy, vile stepfather. But he was not from Indonesia - he was from somewhere else far away, he had drifted somehow into the loving arms of his adoptive mother. But that was only for a time. Upon her brutal death, fate flings him across the world into the waiting arms of a deranged, but affluent, elderly woman. He is taken into a very wealthy family, but not a very safe one, brought only to pass for their long-lost heir, the real Renato Jones. His new family has a dark secret, a secret that almost murders young Renato in his sleep. Renato has a knack for survival, and a hatred for the injustice dealt to the poor and the helpless of this world. Renato may have been brought into the one percent, but he is not of them, he is nothing like them. Growing to manhood, he transforms himself into a weapon with two faces - he masquerades as Renato Jones, member of the most exclusive group of wealthy men on the planet; but he is so much more. He is vengeance. He is justice. He is The Freelancer - a vigilante that will reign down murderous hell on any of the rich that seek to abuse, and toss away the poor, those who have not the means to stand for themselves. With brilliant, cold, calculation, The Freelancer will take away from the evil rich exactly that which they aim to take away from the defenseless masses: their lives.
Kaare Kyle Andrews stuns and does it all (creator, writer, artist, colorist) with this pulse pounding first entry to what looks to be the beginning of a game-changing new series. The Freelancer is a superhero for our times - a character that is the absolute best embodiment in comics of the collective anger surrounding one of the most important issues of our age: the at-all-costs growing wealth and power of the rich, the decimation of the middle-class, and the explosion of poverty in the U.S. and the developed world. This comic is pure righteous indignation at the unjust use of wealth and power detonating through the pencils of Kaare Kyle Andrews; there is no doubt that this character will resonate with many comic book readers.
I personally worried that this book would promote class-envy and class-hatred. But then I realized that superheroes have always offered simplistic solutions to the very complex problems of evil; they are a desire to strike back at injustice, to recover some of the power taken at the hands of those more powerful. Seen in this light, Renato Jones is no different - he is pure violent wish fulfillment as much as any other superhero.
Politics aside, "Renato Jones: One %" #1 is just a STELLAR read from cover to cover. The character has a gripping backstory that is told in flashbacks happening as Jones seeks to take down his latest target - a vile, twisted, wealthy businessman with no regard for human life. We get inside Jones' mind through Andrews' masterful use of narrative boxes, and flashbacks. By the time the comic was done, I was deeply emotionally invested in both the story and the protagonist. And the artwork is over-the-top wild and explosive. Renato Jones is a crazy mashup of Batman, the Punisher and the Mexican anti-hero, Fantomas - and it is a wonder to behold.
RATING: 10 out of 10. Better get this one guys. I'm not one for speculation, but this comic is going to be a sleeper-hit. Kaare Kyle Andrews brings the pain in "Renato Jones: One %!"