The Paybacks #1 – Dark Horse Comics

Writer(s): Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal
Art: Geoff Shaw
Colors: Lauren Affe

thepaybacks1Have you ever wondered where superheroes get the money to do their crime fighting? Maybe they get a loan? But who would loan someone money for crime fighting? And what happens if the hero cannot pay back their loan? These are the very burning questions that “The Paybacks” asks and answers! I was a huge fan of Marvel’s Damage Control when it was originally released in 89. It was a book that contained humor based on looking at real world issues in a comic book world. How does the city get fixed so fast after superheroes destroy it? And now The Paybacks is delivering the same type of humor.

The primary story sees the A(lpha) team acting as repo men to collect the debt owed to their employer by Night Knight. Night Knight we quickly learn is not really much of a hero which definitely lends to the humor in this book. The Alpha team arrive at his home while he is out “fighting crime” so they begin to collect his things waiting for him to return. But not everything seems to be fun and game in The Paybacks.

In juxtaposition to the humor in the main story line we find the Beta Team dealing with a more serious situation. The 2 teams are being coordinated by Driver, and when we are introduced to Miss Adventure on the B team she is telling Driver they need back up. The Beta team is trying to collect a debt from Battery. Let’s just say their mission doesn’t seem to go as well as the Alpha Team. Even though this part of the story seems to have a more serious tone, it does not feel out of place in the story.

One of the things I love about this book is we get right into the story. I see so many first issues that waste a lot of time explaining their characters and premise upfront. Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal do an amazing job of revealing enough about the characters through dialog and actions to establish who they are without beating you over the head with it. The story is very well paced and the humor is spot on. As any well written story it definitely left me wanting more.

This is the first book I’ve seen that was drawn by Geoff Shaw, but it won’t be the last. The art is reminiscent of early Jim Lee with clean lines and beautiful detail. The art does an incredible job of setting the pace for the book along with adding to the humor. Whether it is through a charters expression or simply through seeing thing through a characters perception.  Geoff Shaw’s art works perfectly with this story.

I can honestly say Shaw and Cates may become one of my favorite teams in comics. After reading The Paybacks I found out that Cates and Shaw also work on Buzzkill together so I’ll be running out and checking that book next.

I’m giving this on 8 out of 10 capes

If you love humor comics, or if you love the inherint humor that comes from taking a real world look at fictional situation or if you were a fan of Damage Control back in the day you need to pick this book up! You won’t be disappointed.




Co-host, Interview Coordinator, Comic Reviewer and Cat Wrangler for

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