MERRY MEN #1 Review
Writer: Robert Rodi
Art: Jackie Lewis
Do not let this title fool you, dear readers. Yes, this is the famed band of Robin Hood and the Merry Men, but there’s hardly any merriment to go around. This LGBT friendly spin on the story of Robin hood is unique to say the least. Don’t worry too much about the characters being changed a bit, because Robin Hood is still Robin Hood no matter how you look at it. Same goes for his Merry Men. So throw away all judgments and hesitation aside, and join in the not so merry adventures of the Merry Men. You can tell that they are all for good fun, but the enemy is still on the move.
This story is certainly different from all other Robin Hood stories that I have seen, heard, or read. Yes a big part of that is his homosexual behavior, but also because of the solemn nature of Robin. Of course I may only be used to a few versions of Robin, but this one is less willing to help than in other stories. Maybe it is because of his tiresome past or because he sees the world in a way that doesn’t call for a more animated Robin Hood. I like how the other Merry Men get the spotlight as well. I think its important for every team member to be seen whether they have a big role or small role. Its crucial for characters to actually interact with others and not blend into the background.
It is crucial to keep in mind how society works in this time period. Robert Rodi seems to have a grip on that. This is one of the reasons i used “homosexual behavior” instead of calling Robin and his Men gay. In these times, homosexuality was viewed as a behavior and not as an identity. In older times, men have been known to participate n homosexual acts, but still go on to have wives and children. This was briefly touched on in the story as well. Rodi may have chosen a time where the society was a bit more lenient, but one that is growing more intolerant to homosexuality. I applaud Rodi in not demonizing the Church or the people, but choosing to keep with the narrative of the Merry Men against the Sheriff of Nottingham or Prince John and what have you. This way, we don’t have too many groups coming into conflict with an overwhelming attempt to point fingers. Like I said, Robin Hood is still Robin Hood.
Jackie Lewis’s art is very simple and loose. However, there is a good amount of structure to it. The bold inking and the lack of very straight lines give it some character. I have to say that i did expect something different when I saw the cover, but was surprised that Robert and Jackie didn’t take it over the top. I think the art itself is kinda fun, but there are a few hiccups. That’s to be expected with any artist. It doesn’t take much away from the book overall, but its still there. Jackie Lewis has provided a style that definitely fits with this book. Its not heavy like the plot may be, but it is a good contrast. Marissa Louise’s flat colors and earthy tones tie it all together.
I feel like this is a book that you could give to younger people. I’m not saying just throw the book at small kids because I wouldn’t recommend PDA to any kids. However, this book could be classified as friendly enough for younger audiences. Perhaps pre-teens? This book is very LGBT heavy, and I believe that’s a good thing. With all the hetero-normative books we have, why not decide to change it up a bit. Again, I don’t know how realistic this time period would have been with the LGBT themes, but its a comic book. Not everything has to be realistic. Plus, it might take away from the good story that is unfolding, and that would be boring.