Friday, January 6, 2012

Comic of the Week - New Beginning

So, first post of 2012 and I'm not sure what to say. I read my comics and while I did enjoy what I read (Animal Man!! Irredeemable!! Sweet Tooth!!), how often can I heap praise on the same books and creators? So, I think what I'm going to start doing is pick up one new thing each week that I haven't read before.

I've only read Incognito from Brubaker and Phillips, but they're Criminal series of minis get high praise and it's something I've been meaning to pick up. From what I gather, these two dudes love old school pulps so much, they've recreated them perfectly. I liked Incognito, the tale of a Super villain who reformed and is trying to live a normal life. This week they put out Fatale, which, based on the first issue, is a mystery that may involve monsters, of the HP Lovecraft variety, cults, and who knows what else. Again, they are playing with pulpy, noirish elements. The story takes place in the 50's for the most part, and follows the godson of a novelist that has just passed away. He discovers a lost manuscript that predates his godfather's first published work, which some mysterious men in black types want to get their hands on. Of course, there's a Femme Fatale, (hence the title) who appears to be an old acquaintance of his godfather's and not likely what she seems. In the first issue, at least, this is all just prologue as the story then goes into what is actually in the lost manuscript. And that's where things get creepy, real fast.

What stands out in this series and really has put a fire on me to pick up the Criminal books, is that both Brubaker and Phillips have a command of the genre and style they are working in. The dialogue is exactly what you'd hear in movies like The Killing, Naked City, The Maltese Falcon, etc. But it's organic at the same time, never feeling forced or out of place. The art is evocative of the same movies, while maintaining a dynamic quality that never makes you feel like you're looking at still images. Granted that the first issue does not reveal a whole lot, and we're basically left with the promise of the cover to tip us off as to where this is headed, but it's enough to bring me back for issue 2, no doubt.

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