Review: Corrective Measures

Have you ever read a screenplay before the movie hit theaters? You read the dialogue, the scene descriptions and three act structure and played the movie in your head. Well, I’ve been lucky enough to read the first six issues of Grant Chastain’s Corrective Measures months in advance and, well, his movie in graphic novel form is better than mine behind my eyes. Let me explain.

Corrective Measures tells the story of Jason Brody. A corrections officer offered an opportunity to captain a unit at San Tiburon Correctional Facility. Now, San Tiburon isn’t your normal run of the mill prison. San Tib is a super-villain prison and that’s where the fun begins.

We are introduced to San Tib through two sets of eyes. Brody and Punisher-inspired super-villain Payback who are both entering the prison at the same time. Quickly, the violence level is ramped up and the mysterious goings-on at the prison take shape.

The setting clearly is a take on HBO’s Oz, but with super-villains vibe. However, what’s presented here is character and plot driven more akin to The Shield or The Wire than standard super-hero fare. The language itself is Rated R and the general graphic nature of the book amps up the realism.

It’s great fun to read the dialogue of Warden Devlin as his southern drawl accent becomes more pronounced when he’s being all snake-oily or taking the piss out of an inmate. It’s a character trait which illustrates Chastain’s command of the players he has assembled, knows what motivates them and showcases it on the page.

I would be remiss if I don’t mention the excellent team of JuanFran and Jay Moyano on the art duties. Each character is uniquely presented and the page layouts are detailed and interesting. There are so many great panels from Payback on the deck to the first shot of the island to the cemetery fight – the Moyano brothers have put together a fantastic portfolio of work. I expect a publisher with more clout will be snatching them up any day now.

The only disappointment a reader may have is the desire to have more of a definite conclusion to the Payback story. It doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading the other storylines, guessing about the shady dealings of Devlin or wondering who throw-away character Ian Vincible might be, but since the first story arc was designed to be a 12-part “season” and you are only getting half, you might feel short-changed.

Still, the first six issues truly set up the next six and I expect readers will be on board for the follow-up. Lucky for me, I’ve read ahead and I know what happens to Jason, Devlin and Payback.

Blood.
Pain.
Loss.
Betrayal.

All the markings of a classic story. Get in on the ground floor. It only gets better.