• The Raid: Locked Up (Titan Comics) Comic Review



    Released by: Titan Comics
    Released on: May 8th, 2019.
    Written by: Ollie Masters
    Illustrated by: Budi Setiawan
    Purchase From Amazon

    “Taking place during the events of the second movie - the Raid movie's main character Rama is trapped in prison and he has to protect an undercover cop... as well as himself... Meanwhile, Jakarta crime boss Bejo is causing havoc in the outside world as he strives to gain more and more power - and he is ably assisted by two familiar faces: Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man...”

    When the first issue of this new series based off of Gareth Evans’ popular film series begins, mobster Uco is being given early release. And while he’s happy about this, he’s curious why Yuda isn’t being released alongside him. Who’s Yuda? Jakarta’s top cop Rama, using that name as an alias while he’s behind bars.

    From here we leave the prison and head to the Anaconda Club in Jakarta. People are dancing, taking pills and screwing around when some heavily armed cops in riot gear show up, led by Teja, a ‘special tactics officer.’ They’re there to take in Bejo, a crime boss, but they don’t realize that he’s got a small army of thugs backing him up – the kind of bad guys that are ‘not to be fucked with.’ One of Bejo’s primary hitmen is known simply as The Assassin. The other two? Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl. The three prove far faster and deadlier than the cops sent to take in their employer and things get bloody fast, but they’re outnumbered and Teja manages to bring Bejo in to the station to be booked, much to the dismay of his commanding officer who is none too pleased that he ran an unauthorized operation and brought Beja in without enough evidence to really do anything with him.

    Teja winds up in a prison near Jakarta, behind bars with the types of criminals he’s spent his career trying to bring to justice. He pissed off the wrong people, we’re told. When he’s recognized in the cafeteria he beats the crap out of an inmate before he can open his mouth but it’s too late. Once the other inmates realize Teja is a cop, his life behind bars is in constant turmoil.

    Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man show up at the apartment door of a heavily tattooed man who is genuinely surprised to see them there.

    Cut to the interior of a limousine driving through Jakarta. Inside, Bejo sits quietly. The driver brings him to a restaurant where he eats some food and then insults the chef that prepared it, going so far as to order him at knifepoint to ‘try again and make it better.’ Bejo heads out into the lobby where he meets Hansumu Utomo who has arrived to check out Bejo’s new business venture, the very restaurant in which they’re meeting. Utomo considers the food business in the area his territory and he wants a cut. Bejo tells him he’ll think about it and Utomo leaves, less than impressed.

    Elsewhere, Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man clean the blood off of their respective tools of the trade, sit down, eat come cookies and watch TV.

    In Jakarta Prison, Teja writes a letter to the governor while Yuda watches. Teja is insisting he be released from this ‘false imprisonment’ but Yuda knows that won’t work and he has a better plan: Teja pays him for protection – it’s the perfect cover. Of course, Teja wasn’t really writing a letter to the governor, he was writing a ‘to do list’ for when he gets out. Yuda then decides to get the message out that Teja really is under his protection, and things get violent.

    And we’ll leave it at that.

    This is a seriously intense first series! Bringing the type of action that Evans managed to portray so vividly and violently in the two The Raid films to life in comic book form couldn’t have been easy but Ollie Masters and Budi Setiawan do a fantastic job of it. The story is a strong one, tying into the films really nicely and keeping things very much in the same vein, even bringing some of the more memorable supporting players into view – which is a nice touch. It also expands on the films a bit too, making it interesting to read. There isn’t a ton of dialogue here, many of the characters are the strong silent type – or smart enough to keep their mouths shut in certain situations – but the plot moves at a very quick pace and not a frame is wasted. Masters writes this well, bringing a gritty sense of realism to the story that helps to ground it and to keep the characters believable. The writing here builds tension well, bringing us further into the underground of Jakarta’s criminal community and letting us witness firsthand the implementation of events sure to have ramifications in upcoming issues. And yet the series doesn’t skimp on action.

    The artwork from Budi Setiawan matches the writing really well. There’s a lot of great detail here and man oh man can this guy draw action scenes perfectly. The coloring work from Brad Simpson accentuates all of this, bringing the right amount of darkness into the prison cells, making sure the reds pop the way they should when blood is spilt. Even the lettering from Jim Campbell just works – it’s clean, clear and has a nice cinematic feel to it at times. The visuals really come together in a big way to make this work. If you were a fan of the films that inspired this, don’t miss this series – it’s a remarkably strong. Hopefully we’ll see a return to this world from this team sooner rather than later.

    In addition to collecting the four issues that made up the mini-series and their multiple variant covers, this trade paperback edition also features some interesting bonus material starting with a forward from Gareth Evans in which he talks about the reception to the two Raid films and this comic book version. There’s also a selection of sketches and concept art, a page that shows how the art was created and finalized and bios for the creative team.