As I’ve mentioned previously in my review of Tomboy, I’ve never been in the “traditional girly” camp. When other girls my age were talking about fashion, make-up and crafting, I wanted to go play around with archery, sword fighting and adventuring. I’ve learned to get over my dislike of pink and have become obsessed with certain types of crafting but my love of adventure, humor and violence will likely be with me til the day I die. Unsurprisingly, this has meant that I have long loved action movies, particularly over-the-top ones with martial arts, explosions and gunfighting. It’s why I loved movies like Die Hard, most things with Jean Claude Van Damme (even if I laughed as much as I oohed and ahhed the explosions), Robocop, Terminator, Boondock Saints and, more recently, John Wick. More recently, I had the chance to watch Kung Fury and loved every second of it. For those unaware, Kung Fury is an absolutely insane, over-the-top love letter to 80’s cop action movies that is both insanely ridiculous and absolutely perfect in its parody of and tribute to those movies. This week, I read Sexcastle by Kyle Starks which is very much in the same vein as Kung Fury, with the author admitting to his love of 80’s action movies from the very beginning. Sexcastle is a one-shot that was originally funded via Kickstarter and has since been re-published by Image Comics (something they’ve done a fair number of times now). In more of the comic vein rather than some of the more involved graphic novels, Sexcastle is a hell of a violent, humorous romp as the former World’s Greatest Assassin attempts to leave his bloody past behind him and fails spectacularly in doing so.
Sexcastle begins with the release of Shane Sexcastle, former World’s Greatest Assassin in the Assassin’s Guild, from the Fort Wayne Federal Penitentiary as he finishes serving time for the murder of the vice president. Angry at having been forced to spend time in jail for saving the life of the president (despite having to kill the VP to do so), Sexcastle just wants to find a normal life and leave his old job in the past. A dream in which he tends a garden from those he’s killed leads Sexcastle to a job at a flower shop in a small town. Unfortunately for him, the town is owned and controlled by an evil cat stroking villain named Bradley (also the name of the town). When Bradley (the villain), attempts to threaten the single mother who owns the flower shop into paying her late rent via means other money, Sexcastle decides that he isn’t putting up with a man like Bradley and wages a one man war against the tycoon.
If you’ve ever seen an 80’s action movie, you will know this story by heart. Throughout the story, Sexcastle fights not only the crooked men in the town but also his own pride and violent nature and past in order to help out the woman and son who have given him a new start. As a warning to those who might pick up this story, Sexcastle is, shockingly, filled to the brim with violence, coarse language and ridiculousness. As I said earlier, it’s absolutely a love letter to the over-the-top action movies that are themselves filled with violence and coarse language. In particular, you’ll definitely recognize elements from Die Hard, Road House and any number of JCVD movies. The art style is basically a black and white comic with humorous but not incredibly detailed illustrations. I’m not saying that to knock Starks’ talent, but to make it obvious that it’s in a simpler style that gives readers a quick action filled romp rather than anything complicated.
If you grew up watching action movies, loved Kung Fury or any of the other parodies/action movies in that vein, you’ll enjoy Sexcastle. It’s amusing, action packed and over-the-top in the best of ways. I probably wouldn’t call it the best comic I’ve ever read but I’d recommend it for 99% of my friends since we share the same dark sense of humor and love of that genre and obviously for anyone else who shares that with us. If you’re not a fan of coarse language and violence however, you might want to skip this one. Until next time!