Although I’ve only managed to follow Brian Wood’s work intermittently throughout the years, I generally enjoy his plots and scripts, which led me to pick up this collection of his early 2000s work. I’d never before heard of Couriers, but this was a fantastic collection, and a great value for the price, considering the length of the collection, numbering over 300 pages. Brian Wood is a great character writer, and fans of his work on books like Demo will love his take on these characters. The two main characters, Moustafa and Special, have great snappy banter, as they find themselves in insane life-or-death situations throughout their adventures. The two main characters are couriers, who take both banal jobs, as well as more dangerous, deadly ones, which put them in the line of fire and puts their lives on the line. The stories read like mini action movies, with fast-paced plots which somehow manage to also deepen and develop the main characters, without slowing down the pacing. The characters are fully realized and fleshed out, and I was continually impressed with how Wood balanced the pacing of the stories.
As much as I enjoyed the story by Wood, I think that the real heavy lifting of these stories was done by artists Rob G and Brett Weldele. This collection was a fast-paced read, and a big part of that is because of the artwork that these two artists laid down. There’s a true cinematic flair and quality imbued in the artwork, and it helps make the book a fast-paced, page-turning read, which engages the reader and keeps you flipping the pages quickly to see how the action unfolds and the story plays out. There’s a bit of an anime-style influence in the artwork, and at times it almost felt reminiscent of Becky Cloonan’s artwork (who was Wood’s collaborator on the acclaimed “Demo” series), but slightly more polished and detailed. Rob G and Brett Weldele certainly know how to illustrate fast-paced action scenes exceedingly well, as the panels really did feel like the frames from an action movie. The artwork was always clear and concise, with the characters being quite distinct and emotive.
This was an excellent read, and if you’re a fan of Brian Wood’s you owe it to yourself to pick up this collection. It’s a terrific value, in terms of how much story you’re getting for the cost, and it’s also just a really fun and engaging read. I didn’t want to put it down until I’d finished the various stories that are collected here. That’s part of what helps make the pacing of this collection so enthralling, in that you’re getting four different stories here, instead of having one long story drawn out over the course of the entire collection. It breaks things up, and keeps the reader entertained and engaged. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!