I picked up the occasional Extreme Studios book from time to time but they never really made sense or had a good story to them. Everything was blood/death/strike or something to that affect. Rob kept producing books throughout the years and I kept on not buying the majority of them. In 1996 he was hired by Marvel to take over Captain America and Avengers under the banner Heroes Reborn. I was furious that his run interrupted the perfection that was Mark Waid and Ron Garney's run on Captain America, but I bought CA #1 anyway. I didn't make it to the second issue. Rob didn't make it to #7.
As the years went by I changed from a artist's fan to a writer's fan. I followed religiously the works of Dixon, Waid, Robinson, and Bendis. I watched the quality of the stories in comics improve and move away from gimmick covers. I bought a few issues of Rob's return to Marvel, but nothing really stood out to me. In late 2005 I stopped buying comics religiously. I kept up with certain books by buying the trade paperbacks (don't EVER call it a graphic novel in front of me) and making the occasional stop to another store where they didn't know me.
Here's where things start to change. While I was on the sidelines, Rob stayed busy. He went back to the Heroes Reborn universe. He made a return to Image. He started doing art for Deadpool and The Infinite. But the point that made me stand up and take notice of Rob Liefeld again was when I found him on Twitter. He spoke candidly about his career. He gave advice to people seeking entry into the industry. He gave his opinion on DC and Marvel. He also promoted his book like a madman. Rob was overseeing the relaunch of his Image books, penciling The Infinite, penciling and later writing Hawk and Dove, and then taking over scripts and art for Deathstroke, and plotting Grifter and Hawkman. This guy is taking on a hell of a workload AND promoting it like no other. So here's where I admit what I'm going to do tomorrow: I plan on buy some Rob Liefeld comics. That's right. The man who worships at the church of Bendis and Robinson is going to go Extreme. And yes Rob, I know I better hurry. I'll post my findings tomorrow.....stay tuned.
The issue opens with immediate action. It feels like a good jumping on point for new readers, which is a good thing because I haven't read a comic with Cole Cash in it in years. Cole is on the run from several Daemonites, and while he's battling, we get a narration establishing the story for those who just showed up. It gets the new direction started and introduces some new characters to the story. The art is great. It feels like the Grifter books of old. The dialogue is very much Cole Cash. I know this is the New 52, but the one thing that bothers me is that Grifter and Deathblow have never met before. I'm an old Team 7 fan, so I like the fact that all these guys were linked together. Having said that, I will be back for the next issue. Rob is credited with the story in this book, with the dialogue and art done by others. So it feels like he acts as the Head Writer/Executive Producer. Creating the vision and direction, but overseeing a creative team. Looks very promising.
So there you have it. I haven't been a regular comic reader in years, but thanks to Rob Liefeld's Twitter feed (@RobertLiefeld), I was driving all over Norman, Oklahoma to find his stuff. I'm coming back for 2 out of his 3 books next month. Hopefully I'm not the only one who has been influenced by Rob's social media powers. You can follow me on Twitter @CMJarrod. Also, feel free to check out my podcast in the right hand corner of this page.