Posted: 04/10/2008


Mr. T: A Graphic Novel

by Mohawk Media

Reviewed by Jef Burnham

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This graphic novel features everyone’s favorite, fool-pitying tough guy socking it to anyone who’s a big enough sucker to hurt a child. Each of the four, issue-length chapters pits the world famous bodyguard Mr. T, in his brand new titanium/adamantium-laced armor, against a different super foe. In chapter one, T tests his skills against a Pink-quoting scientist in mech. armor (and yes, I mean the performer Pink). Chapter two follows T into the woods, where he butts heads with a couple kidnapping hillbillies named Rhino Richards and Snakebite Bill. Chapter two is my favorite, as it shows Mr. T trigger a swinging log trap, then smash the log to bits with one T-sized punch! The third and fourth chapters take Mr. T to England, where he becomes embroiled in an extremely confusing conspiracy involving a little boy with a black eye.

Essentially, Mr. T has no powers, save for being generally kick-ass, and neither do the villains he tackles. In his continuing quest to remain the world’s second greatest protector, next to God (I’ll get to that later), T recruits a woman named Indigo Jo to work as a bodyguard, and I suspect in the next graphic novel, he is going to recruit a guy named Arrow-Route, who appeared in a grand total of one page of this book. We are also introduced in the end to a villain who is plotting to escape from an “escape-proof” prison, which is further indication that Mohawk Media intends to make this an ongoing series of graphic novels. One of the best parts of the book finds Mr. T unwillingly ingesting hallucinogenic drugs. Everyone around him appears as different incarnations of Mr. T from A-Team to Rocky III.

Overall, the art is good, but the writing is a bit weak, filled with lame, dated pop culture references, goofily-named villains, and a slew of corny Mr. T messages about the youth. Using proverbs as they do is acceptable, though, since that has always been a part of Mr. T’s persona. Of course, there are the obligatory hundred or so usages of “fool,” “sucker,” “brother,” and “jibber-jabber.” The book gains a lot of good faith with readers in an introduction by Mr. T himself. He helps readers to realize that, just like anything else he’s been a part of, this book is just for fun. He also delivers a message directly to his fans: “I want to thank you all for the love; and I promise never to let you down.” How good-natured is that? You can’t help but dive into the first chapter excited to see some Mr. T butt-kicking.

The chapters are divided by three, ten-question interviews called, “Ten Rounds with T!” In the interviews you learn about T’s early career as a bodyguard for the stars and the origin of the haircut. They also discuss the business card he used in his bodyguard days, which they incorporate into the graphic novel. The card read, “Next to God there is no better protector than I.”

Jef Burnham is a writer and film critic in Chicago.

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