Review & Spoilers: ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4



 “Exodus” (22 pages)

[B&W] [no ads]

Written by: Michael Aushenker

Illustrated by: Mats Engsten

Lettered by: John Hageman, Jr.

Publisher: Acme Ink

Cover Price: $3.50


Rock on, dudes!!! I’ve never listened to much thrash metal. At least not consciously. I’m sure my ears have been exposed to snippets here and there by bands that didn’t particularly resonate with me. Nevertheless, I’ve been chomping at the bit to review this comic series. It’s a real 360 from the complacent genres of comic book literature. There have always been biographical series but since the demise of Bluewater, the selections were non-existent. Until now!! I hesitated to review #3 of this title but when I saw this latest issue, I went full throttle!!


Note: This book originally shipped Dec. 9, 2015. However, my local comic shop did not receive it until this week (the 16th). Not gonna mention any names [Diamond!] but there are numerous occasions when stores are short-shipped selective stock despite two-months-in-advance pre-ordering.

Acme Ink logo

Time to grow my hair long, constantly bang my head, wear black tees and blue jeans, and riff on that guitar til my fingers bleed!!!


As far as biographies go, the info presented here is standard and simplified. A synopsis is sufficient to condense the three-and-a-half decades’ existence of this rock group. The chronology begins in 1980 and ends with 2015 Common Era.

Exodus logo - jagged red

It couldn’t be more fitting that the band’s name reflects the several line-up changes and dramatic departures. The inspiration behind the appellation came from Leon Uris’ novel which detailed the transporting of Jews to Palenstine aboard the ship of the same name. Pretty heady stuff!! Frontman Steve Souza had a brilliant mind behind the grungy look.

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 origin of the name

Longevity is the crucial component for this ensemble. Their trials and tribulations have not deterred them from keeping their connections nor embracing their passion. There are currently five members. Gary Holt holds the highest distinction of being the only original member. Over the span of thirty-five years, there have been fourteen members. The rollercoaster roster pales in comparison to the Avengers memberships drives!!

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 introducing Exodus

In its infancy, guitarist Lee Altus commented on one of the original members bailing early by sarcastically suggesting they should have named themselves Musical Chairs. Defections, deceptions, drugs, death, firings, jumping ship, shifting allegiances – Exodus endured it all. Nevertheless, the dream didn’t die. They remained steadfast and rose through the ranks with their blood, sweat, tears [literally!] and thrash.

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 play where you can

Twenty-plus years whiz by. As the group enters the aughts (00’s), radicalness and rambunctiousness change to stability and streamlined focus. Hatches are buried, bygones remain thus, and their claim to fame is made more prominent after a gig at SDCC 2014. They will be featured in their very own comic book!!! Not coincidentally, the very one I am now reviewing. What other media can this group tackle?? Keep marching, metalheads!! Trudge forward, thrashers!!


Eponymously yours: Exodus is used enough elsewhere.

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 name recognitionROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 name rolls off the tongue

ROCK & ROLL BIGORAPHIES #4 name is the game

Social Networking 101: Long before Facebook, if you knew someone who knew someone, you had it made in the shade!! Tons of name-dropping!

  • Megadeth, Metalica, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies [Major players! The first three are credited with pionerring and popularizing the genre]
  • Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Warrant [chart-toppers]ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 hair bands
  • Beastie Boys [‘co-workers’]
  • Defiance, Heathen, Possessed, Skinlab [friendly rivals]
  • Arch Enemy, Arsis, Belphegor, Epicurean, Kreator, Mutiny Within, Warbringer [opening acts]
  • Rob Zombie [special guest]
  • Mark Whitaker, Rick Rubin [producers]
  • Capitol, Century Media, Def Jam/Columbia, Nuclear Blast, Sony/Combat Records [labels]
  • Mel Smith [founder of Acme Ink, comic book writer. The man responsible for this book!]ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 comic book is coming

Michael Aushenker provides a clear, concise chronicle. The simplicity of the saga is much appreciated. There is no convoluted mess despite the twists and turns experienced by all parties involved. Truth is stranger than fiction. One need not worry about real life continuity since he only focuses on the focal points – crowning achievements as well as falls from grace.


Mats Engsten masterfully blends the fine lines with the dense blacks. Despite the borders being slightly bigger than the panels, nothing is lost in the illustration. The dark depictions naturally feed on to the page without appearing to be inkblots. There is no cartoony-ness. These are real-life individuals, not reasonable facsimiles within four-square fiction. Mr. Engsten undoubtedly replicated every person’s likeness for this non-fictional tale.

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 guitar riff

This marks John Hageman, Jr.’s second stint on this series. The first was the previous issue featuring Primus. He fills in every single narration box and word balloon so that the eyes remain fixed. The ax is prominently heard in two different panels. Oh, if only I had musical talent 😐

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 break-up with style

Believe it or not, I put on Exodus’ first album while I started writing. I didn’t really have any pre-conceived notions about thrash metal. Aside from the loudness of it all, the lyrical content is worthy of any academic institution!!

All in all, I give this book eight strings out of ten!! WWWRRROOOWWW!!!


“Rock and Roll Fact Files” (5 pages)

[B&W] [no ads]

 Written by: Michael Aushenker

Illustrated by: Mats Engsten

Letters & Tones: John Hageman, Jr.

Self-explanatory. All the current members in their splendor and glory!

Exodus member 1 - Steve SouzaExodus member 2 - Tom HuntingExodus member 3 - Gary HoltExodus member 4 - Lee AltusExodus member 5 - Jack Gibson







Numbers game:

  • Fourteen members came and went.
  • Eight members played live with the current one being Kragen Lum.
  • Two passed away: Paul Baloff (1960-2002), Jeff Hanneman (1964-2013)
  • One O.D’ed: Tom Hunting (2005)
  • One pulled-under-the-rug move: “Impaler” re-released in lieu of “Crime of the Century” and added to the Tempo of the Damned album (2004)
  • One very public dissing – Holt vs. Souza (2005)
  • Ten studio albums. Twelve-year gap between albums five and six.

Cross-culture: Can you discern who, or what, and why are on the T-shirts???

ROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 Frankenstein teeROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 Dawn of the Dead teeROCK & ROLL BIOGRAPHIES #4 Killing Joke tee

Mascot or lethal protector? It seems that Iron Maiden isn’t the only one with their Beast? Who is this creature that accompanies the group??

ROCK & ROLL BIGORAPHIES #4 Beast of their ownExodus - Beastly talentMy appreciation extends to my local comic shop for proving me with this title.

Gotham Central ad 2015 feat. Deadpool