"Big Man Plans" #1 – 7 out of 10 – Image; Written by Eric Powell ("The Goon") and Tim Wiesch (Oni Press VP of business development); Illustrated by Eric Powell ("The Goon"); In Stores 3/4/2015.
"Big Man Plans" #1 starts out like a lot of Eric Powell's comics: the internal dialogue of a down-and-out antihero sitting at the bar in a drab tavern. Like many of Eric Powell's comics, that antihero quickly does physical harm to other characters in the tavern. Unlike other comics by Eric Powell, the antihero in "Big Man Plans" is a person of short stature.
BMP is the result of two friends, comic creator Eric Powell and comic industry professional Tim Wiesch, who spent a summer together and decided to turn an inside joke into a four-issue comic book miniseries. That said, the joke is not about the unnamed dwarf antihero – only referred to in this first issue as Big Man. Their joke was on eventually having enough money they could make big man plans like "force Tom Selleck to shave his moustache with only his tears to use as shaving cream;" that is just one of the examples Wiesch gives in a letter to the reader at the end of the issue.
"Big Man Plans" #1 tells the tragic origin story of Big Man; spending his teen years in an orphanage after his father's death, trying to enlist in the military, only to be trained in a secret Vietnam tunnel rat program which attempted to destroy his humanity. After time spent in prison, he's going home, a place where he thought he'd never return.
The story is narrated by Big Man who is responding to a letter he received after getting out of prison. And while I'm normally not a fan of first person narration in comics, this first issue covers such a large breadth of Big Man's life, it seems necessary. Powell's art is his traditional style that earned him Eisner Awards in 2004 (and 2005... and 2008). The genius in BMP is that while it is based in our reality, "The Goon" like horrors are just as present and even more frightening.
"Big Man Plans" #1 earns a 7 out of 10. This comic is not for everyone. Wiesch flat out says that in his letter to the reader. It's as abrasive as P12 grit sandpaper – not something you'd want to leave around the house for younglings to find. It contains extreme violence and nudity salted with vulgar language. And for Big Man, that is his life. The issue does feel rushed, and as it is the first of just four in the series, there had to be a fast-forward version of the character's origin. However Powell's art brings the creepiness of his ghouls and zombies in "The Goon" into the reality-based world of Big Man, reflected hauntingly in those who would treat their brother so horribly.
Read this comic if you enjoy "The Goon," Jason Aaron's "Scalped," and/or Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."
Trent Hunsaker is a podcaster and popculturalist. Podcasting for Kevin Smith's SModcast Internet Radio and the A Part of Him Podcast Network, he also operates Death Ray Comics, sweats, and reads comics – but mostly just sweats.