I would like to strongly encourage everyone who’s remotely into comics to check out my friend Travis Legge’s webcomic, Reckoning. Travis’s description of Reckoning is “a webcomic about love, loss, and revenge.” It’s a great read and his weekly updates make it easy to follow the story without sacrificing a ton of time or waiting until the local comics shop gets their shipment (a sketchy proposition at best around these parts lately). This book is recommended for mature readers and with good reason. If you can’t stomach graphic violence, nudity, and language, you may want to skip Reckoning. If, however, you like your comics hard-boiled and distilled to a razor-sharp edge, put Reckoning in your favorites or subscribe via RSS.

The art is truly top-notch, though I wish it were in color. That being said, Santiago Espina’s pencils and inks are exceptional. The art brings into stark contrast the current dark world of the book and the happier times of the past. One almost gets a sense of two different protagonists through the divergent styles used in main sequences and in flashbacks.

Justine, who is the protagonist of the story, is every bit the deranged vigilante of dark anti-hero comics. Picture the Punisher, thirty years younger with a nice rack, and you begin to glimpse who Justine is. Justine is a normal girl, with relatively normal problems and life events. What makes her comic book hero material is her complete and utter lack of a normal response to those problems and events. Justine is as her name implies: justice, with no regard for the means used to achieve it. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but in the very first issue, Justine takes out one of the villians in a manner befitting a mohel. You’ll have to see it for yourself; trust me.

I have a certain affection for this comic based on its history, also. The initial seeds of this story blossomed from an idea Travis had many moons ago for a character that was to be called the “Prowler”. The Prowler was to be one of the first titles produced by Aegis Studios, which was then envisioned as a comics publishing company. Travis and I began work on Prowler and another comic, Nephalim. A quick copyright search revealed that Marvel already had a character named the Prowler (a pseudo-Batman character), so the comic became known as Retribution. We did get the first issue of Retribution printed and even went to a few cons to promote it. (In fact, I still have a box of Retribution comics in storage that I plan on hawking on eBay when Travis becomes a rich Hollywood writer/ director. Either that, or I’ll use them as blackmail material after same.) Our focus changed shortly thereafter to role-playing game publishing, however, and Retribution died the swift, painful death of many indie comics.

The death of Retribution was necessary and good for the life of Reckoning. Like the phoenix, the ashes of Retribution allowed something stronger and more beautiful to emerge. Reckoning strips away the cumbersome and clichéed parts of the old story and gives a unique perspective into the possibilities lurking beneath the surface of us all. The rebirth of Reckoning also brings in fresh artistic talent, something Retribution had a sore problem with. (No offense, Matt, but the old book did not look good.)

If you like gritty, graphic comics with psychologically tortured characters and gorgeous artwork, click on the banner below and check out Reckoning. While you’re at it, subscribe to the RSS feed on the website, follow Travis Legge on Twitter and friend his ass on Facebook. When your friends come up to you a year from now talking about this “Leg” dude you can correct their spelling, tell them you’ve been reading his stuff for months now and that they suck for not following the Screw City’s biggest talent sooner.

P.S: Though Travis is a good friend of mine, I assure you that this review was completely unsolicited and that the statements above reflect my honest views of my friend’s work. Ask Travis himself: I am not afraid to tell him when what he’s doing sucks eggs, and Reckoning definitely does not suck eggs.