STEVE ORLANDO: Steve Orlando, writer of VIRGIL, is someone you should be paying attention to. UNDERTOW, a series that was immaculately drawn by artist Artyom Trakhanov, depicted a world where Atlantis is a worldwide superpower. A man named Redum Anshargal loathes the system and the ruling class, and sets out for dry land to find a legendary creature that may hold the secret to breathing on dry land. UNDERTOW is a traditional Atlantis tale in reverse, with Atlanteans coming up for air as opposed to humans descending to Atlantis, with a strong political aspect. In addition to rugged fight scenes, you get to see a little of how this vision of Atlantis works, and the effect its political system has on those who have to live under it. Orlando brings a similar swagger to VIRGIL by putting a hard focus on the characters, but making sure to show us the culture the characters live in, too. The result is something that feels fuller featured than a basic action tale, a story that'll sit with you after you finish.
J.D. FAITH: J.D. Faith's art, with colors by Chris Beckett, rides a careful line. For a book like this, the reasons why people are doing what they're doing are as important how they go about their business, which means that being able to sell a conversation is as vital to the storytelling as being able to depict a killer action scene. Faith and Beckett are more than up to the task, with Beckett's palette giving the graphic novel the perfect exploitation movie vibe and Faith's art delivering on the pain, but not to the extent that you feel grossed out. Revenge tales tend to have a triumphant element, if only to ease the violence that permeates the stories, and Faith more than delivers.
REVENGE: What's a better motivator for an action story than revenge? After he's forcibly outed and his boyfriend is kidnapped, Virgil goes on a one-man wrecking spree to get his lover back. The villains are evil, the hero is full of righteous anger, and the revenge? The revenge is justified in the text. You're free to sit back and watch one man as he rises from his grave and goes after everyone who thought they put him there. As far as action comics go, this is what it's all about.