Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Mukesh Singh
Publisher: Virgin Comics
What this book has to do with Guy Ritchie is anyone’s guess. While, like other Virgin titles graced with famous names, the premise is certainly Mr. Ritchie’s idea, it lacks any of his personal touch or flair. While this second issue certainly has the violence associated with his movies, the black humor and twisting plotlines are both completely absent. The usual cast of colorful characters is also narrowed down to one man: Brock, the titular gamekeeper. If this guy is named after the bodyguard from Venture Brothers, it may be the only joke in the comic.
As an action comic, Gamekeeper is passable, in a First Blood sort of way. Brock (you can bet that’s not his real name) has been working as a gamekeeper on the Scottish manor of Jonah Morgan for the past ten years. When bad guys show up and begin killing anyone in their way, he hides out and begins to take out the killers using guerilla tactics. While it is fun to watch Brock run around the woods nipping off mercenaries one-by-one, the rest of the story doesn’t seem to hold up. Even the bait-and-switch tactic Brock uses for his forest ambush isn’t employed in a particularly unique or interesting fashion. Much the same can be said for the back story that is introduced in this issue.
Ten years ago, Morgan and his associates were researching a complex mathematical formula in the wilds of Chechnya. It has the incredibly impressive sounding academic title of "Dense Plasma Focus Containment System for Aneurtronic Hydrogen-Boron Fusion Reactions." In short, Morgan has the keys to a relatively safe and environmentally friendly power supply. What his team was doing developing it in Chechnya, one of the most dangerous places on Earth, particularly 10 years ago just after the war with Russia, is anyone’s guess. Not surprisingly, things didn’t end well.
Inconsistencies like this are littered throughout the story, ranging from big to small. Early in the story, in what seems to be an important plot point, Brock monologues that he has been living a lie, that he is closer to the wild than to humanity. But he was pulled out of Chechnya when he was a boy, living in a civilized world for the past ten years. Later, he mentions a Lyre bird. But how a man from Chechnya with little to no formal education, living in Scotland, knows about Australian wildlife isn’t touched upon. While both of these examples may be explained in some fashion, the book does not bother to do so.
By far the best part of Gamekeeper is the art, which is distinctive and beautiful. The pencils are detailed and graceful, creating scenes of action and emotion interchangeably. The colors employed provide a great sense of mood, time and place. All of these are important, particularly in this issue as scenes move in chronology as well as geography. Singh’s work alone nearly makes the comic worth picking up.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!