Christopher Smith loves peace, and he’s saved the world like three times. It’s just a shame he’s such a giant schmuck. Your Major Spoilers review of Peacemaker Tries Hard #1 from DC Comics Black Label awaits!
PEACEMAKER TRIES HARD #1
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Steve Pugh
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Becca Carey
Editor: Matthew Levine
Publisher: DC Comics Black Label
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Previously in Peacemaker Tries Hard: Having earned his release from the Suicide Squad, Peacemaker wants to try and do normal superhero stuff for a change. Unfortunately, everyone, including the bad guys, thinks he sucks at superhero stuff. But when busting up a terrorist ring introduces Christopher Smith to the cutest thing to ever walk (awkwardly) on four legs, he finds the unconditional love he’s been denied his whole life. That is, until the dog is kidnapped right out from under him by a supervillain who has some very un-super-heroic plans for Peacemaker’s brand of ultraviolence.
OUT OF THE SUICIDE SQUAD, INTO THE FIRE
We open in a grocery store, where a cute couple’s discussion of movies based on comic books is interrupted by the shouts of Peacemaker, who can’t believe the cashier has never heard of him. Taking his cake mix and protein powder, Peacemaker heads for home, only to be intercepted by a call from former boss Amanda Waller. Even though he’s done his duty for the Squad and mustered out of Belle Reve, she has a mission for him: Busting up a local terror cell, a gift that keeps on giving. He tears through the mooks like something sharp through cream cheese, but once they’re taken care of, he notices something that will change his life. A little bulldog who looks like he’s wearing a tuxedo trots up to him and Christopher Smith is officially in love.
So, of course, it’s only a short time before a supervillain kidnaps the dog to get Peacemaker to work for them.
LOOKS LIKE JOHN CENA
Even as a fan of HBO’s Peacemaker, I was surprised how funny this first chapter is, and how well it captured the dirtbag Captain America aesthetic of the show. The opening sequence is amusing, mostly because of the cashier’s concern that Chris is making some sort of “muscle cake,” but the attack on the would-be terror cell actually had me laughing aloud. (The sound effect of “Ceiling $&@#ed!” is what really sealed the deal.) The running commentary about how the dog, whom Peacemaker names Bruce Wayne, is a “fancy little gentleman” is fun, but his immediate devotion to it is sweet. The art is equally well-done, as Pugh captures the nuances of John Cena’s expressions in comic book form, but the action sequences practically sing, and the ugly little bulldog is adorable in his bug-eyed glory. Even when we meet Monsieur Mallah and The Brain, arguably the most absurd villains in DC’s lineup, they look really cool, much cooler than a gorilla in a beret and a brain in a jar should ever look.
BOTTOM LINE: EXCELLENT DEBUT ISSUE
They say that comedy is hard, but Peacemaker Tries Hard #1 works both as an adventure story and as a comic tale, with just enough unexpected heart to make the story of Peacemaker’s new pet believable, with attractive art that rounds out a dead-solid 5 out of 5 stars overall. The main DCU Peacemaker has never been this much fun, nor has that portrayal ever captured the TV version this accurately. If this had come out closer to the January 2022 release of the TV show, I’d have chalked it up to a perfect example of capital-S Synergy, but as it is, fans of the show should definitely check this one out.
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PEACEMAKER TRIES HARD #1
This Peacemaker is perfectly placed to capitalize on the 'Peacemaker' show starring John Cena...
...just, y'know, sixteen months later.