Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Neil Googe
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
I love how everyone’s comparing this book to Alan Moore and the work he did on Top 10. Moore himself would bristle at the notion that anyone would be emulating his style, and put off that writer as a copy cat (I know this because I listen to Fanboy Radio). While I would say that anyone’s aspirations to steep that high in the industry is a bit of a stretch, this book is getting up there in a hurry.
Simply put, there is a ton about this book to like.
If you are reading this because the story in issue #1 sucked you in, you already know the plot is good. If you haven’t read issue #1, you better get it before it really catches on at your local shop. This book is The American Way of 2007. Nevertheless, the story continues with the investigation into the murder of Mr. Articulate, and the town of Tranquility has been turned on its ear. To spoil anything else doesn’t do the book justice, so I won’t do so.
There are many reasons to love this book that you may have missed (or just don’t appreciate as much as I do) in the issue. In the end, it truly makes reading all the sweeter in the end. Let me count the ways:
Pop-up ads: If you didn’t do a double take when you saw the Black Glider’s Big Shaft movie poster on page 9, you watch the evening news too much. I was sitting there thinking, “How does that fit into the story? Then you realize this particular book could read like the latest edition of The Tattler as presented on page 4. After that discovery, you get the full appreciation out of seeing the ads for the Fox Hole, Colonel Cragg’s All-Star Battle Tales, or even Hey Kids! Comics! Raise your hand if you didn’t love all of the hot wings flavors.
Tales from the Funeral Home: The character of Zeke really gave Googe the chance to strut his stuff on the page. Apparently this baddie gone funeral director really seems to enjoy his job, right down to the “little tale of terror I like to call ‘buying a headstone.’” This is a good time to point out how versatile and yet fluid the art style has been so far. With the transition from flashback tales to the current story, Neil G. is really showcasing himself quite well. On top of that, each current character, no matter how bit of a part they play, has his or her own sense of style and gives the impression this gig has been brewing in this artist’s head for some time.
Such depth, even at six feet under: There are characters that are showing their faces more than others, although not by very much. This story definitely is a team book, but there is no denying the staying power of Sheriff Lindo, Mayor Fury or our intrepid reporter, Collette. Strangely enough though, the character that showed the most depth and importance to this tale is the dead Mr. Articulate. So much came out about his encounters in the sack, whether they are with Lindo or someone of the less than male persuasion. More than that though, the sheer loss the town seemed to bear the weight of was evident in every panel. I can imagine similar scenes would occur in many of today’s retirement communities, but there aren’t many of those near my local shop, so I’m just guessing. I would not be surprised if more stories were told about our hero with excellent diction in many panels to come.
There is actually more to praise. I will spare you the time of reading through them, but there is much more. If you don’t read through the first two issues and come away with a favorite character of some sort, you need to stop reading so many Spider-Man titles and get a clue. Even the young studs that get beat up are interesting.
This issue isn’t perfect (because in my mind I am not sure I will ever read a perfect book), but this one sure gets darn close. Here’s to a great read and the hopes the steam keeps rolling next month.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!