Rating if the Book Were a Movie: R
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady, and Paul Feinstein
Artist: Artilio Rojo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover: Stjepan Sejic
Editor: Matt Hawkins and Elena Salcedo
Publisher: Image Comics and Top Cow Productions
Story: 4.3 Stars
Artwork: 4.4 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.6 Stars
Dialogue: 4.1 Stars
Mechanics: 4.2 Stars
Editing: 4.2 Stars
About the Book:
A.R.C. is the story of Noah Ehran. Noah is an industrial heir in South Africa that is living a double life. The world sees him as an environmental lobbyist that is trying to save the wildlife population from poachers. When the world isn’t watching, Noah is part of the Animal Rights Collective (A.R.C.), a vigilante group that fights poachers in defense of the creatures that are unable to fight back.
One of the perks of my job is getting to build personal relationships with people on the creative teams from various books. Over time I’ve come to find that Troy Peteri and I have similar tastes in books. The day it came out Troy posted on social media that A.R.C. was a must read book. I believed him.
Unfortunately, my local comic book store didn’t have any in stock that day. They had to special order a copy for me and I got it a few weeks later. When I finally got the chance to read it I discovered that A.R.C. was worth the wait.
I’m a sucker for any title that brings attention to world or social issues. The poaching of elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns has always been a hot button to me. These majestic creatures did nothing but have the misfortune of being born with parts of their bodies that are used for jewelry or as a bogus aphrodisiac. Rhinoceros horns are similar to human fingernails on a molecular level. You don’t see people biting their nails to rise to the occasion.
I loved how this story brings attention to how corrupt and convoluted the system is when it comes to poaching in Africa. The rich finance the poaching through dummy corporations. The money goes to warlords, who in turn hire out the job to contractors. The job ends up being done by villagers that contractors have hooked on heroin.
These villagers receive minimal pay for doing something that will result in them being executed on sight if caught in the act by the authorities (providing they have not been bought off). All the while the proceeds from this illegal operation range in the millions of dollars on the black market.
With this much money at stake we see the extent warlords and the like will go to in order to make their profits. Lives don’t matter to them. Not the lives of the people working for them. Certainly not the lives of those trying to stop them.
It’s refreshing to see a character that is willing to the lengths Noah is to protect these creatures. I especially liked his ability to keep his cool and do things the right way with Jimyu. He teaches Jimyu that another life is possible, if you’re willing to give it a chance.
The artwork in A.R.C. is incredible. We get great detail in the line work. The coloring makes everything pop. Be forewarned, some of the panels are very graphic. Given that they are in the context of showing what a cutthroat industry poaching is, it is not gratuitous.
Another thing I (and my wallet) appreciated is A.R.C. is a one shot. You get the entire story in one issue. This isn’t an ongoing series that will be hitting you up for $4.00 and up each month for an undetermined amount of time to find out what happens next. It’s all here.
As a geek on a budget I would highly recommend A.R.C. to be the next book on your reading list. This story touches all of the bases. It has action, drama, relatable characters, and shines a light on an ongoing struggle in another part of the world.