Review: Jon Sable, Freelance #1

Jon Sable, Freelance #1 cover
Cover by Mike Grell

Jon Sable, Freelance #1
Published and © by First, June 1983

Title: “The Iron Monster”
Synopsis: Jon Sable – children’s book author by day, mercenary by night – finds himself in the employ of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Writer: Mike Grell
Penciler: Grell
Inker: Grell

Review: While the soldier-of-fortune genre hasn’t aged particularly well, Mike Grell’s Jon Sable holds up better than most. Like much of his work, Grell’s passion for this material is contagious. His characters are smart and sexy, offering a maturity that’s a cut above much of the era’s superhero fare. As a writer, Grell excels at the interplay between characters; the exchange between Sable and President Reagan is a great example of this. Art wise, Grell never quite mastered photorealism to the level of Neal Adams, but he’s solid and it’s a delight to see him inking himself here. A sure-handed debut.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “Mike Grell is one of the few creators who writes as well as he draws. For this reason, he is able to portray a three-dimensional character as well as a vivid, piercing street epic.” – Kevin McConnell, Amazing Hero #20, February 1983 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: The children’s book author/mercenary dynamic should make for some fun stories.

Notable: First appearance of Jon Sable.

Character quotable: “I’m just tired of this … this … charade.” – Jon Sable, freelance (or is that B.B. Flemm, bestselling children’s book author?)

Editor’s note: This review was written Dec. 29, 2020.

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