Two Crime Tales and a Cape: Crimespree on Comics

The latest gem from IDW is THE SCORE by Darwin Cooke based on the Richard Stark novel. THE SCORE is one of my favorite of the Parker tales and Cooke does a great job adapting it to a graphic format. The artwork is so perfect I went through the first time without even reading, you can almost hear the soundtrack in the background. The thing that really jumps out in these books is how much Cooke loves the original novels. In THE SCORE Parker is brought in on a job with a large crew to take on a big job (Read it to see what). In his usual way Parker weighs pros and cons and ultimately decides to join in. Parker has some doubts, but the payoff is worth the risk.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like to be pals with Parker, but it would be so cool to be able to do what he does which I think is part of the pay off. Especially now the idea of living off the grid and without answering to anyone is very appealing. Parker is a cold hearted guy with his own code, live by it while you work with him you’re cool, cross him and you can’t hide on the moon.

This is what graphic crime fiction looks like baby, come get some.

The new 52 has been discussed a lot, so I’ll hit it with a quick shot, the DC Universe is a whole new place with new starting points. Cool? Cool. ACTION Volume 1, Superman and the Men of Steel collects the first 8 issues of this new run by Grant Morrison and Rage Morales (and Andy Kubert) and it opens with a very young Superman pre costume in Metropolis. Ma and Pa are dead and he’s on his own trying to find his way. While living in a cheap apartment he is doing some reporting for the Daily Star (a nice het tip to really old Superman tales) and trying to bring down bad guys with his pen. When not doing that he’s running around in a t-shirt with an S on the front and a cape trying to fight crime but really just scaring the crap out of people. By the end of this first story arc he’s in costume and has saved the planet and gained the people’s trust. Sounds basic and fairly straight forward, but it’s not.

This is a great story with layers and bits that pay homage to the past while at the same time bringing a character up to date. Morrison is a fan of the characters he writes and what he does here really shows that. Superman is hard to write, he is pretty hard to hurt and as a result hard to bring in bad guys who work. Morrison does it with a new more devious Luthor and a wonderfully creepy Brainiac.

Morrison has made Superman cool again.

On the darker side of crime fiction in graphic novels SCALPED has been waiting for you , in a dark alley with a lead pipe. Volume 9 of this freaking great book is an ass kicker. Since the first story arc we’ve been waiting for Bad Horse to make his move and there have been a few delays along the way. Delays that would most likely kill a regular person. Here in Knuckle Up, Bad Horse pulls himself from the brink and makes his play, against Red Crow, against the people who killed his mother, against everything and everyone that has pissed him off. Too bad for Red Crow that he picked now to try and straighten out his act, too bad for the Sherriff who finally wants to do that right thing, and too bad for all those FBI agents serving under Agent Nitz. It’s really too bad for almost everyone, except the people reading this amazing book. Scalped has kicked ass since issue one and we’ve been getting payoffs, well this collection is the jackpot baby! Scalped doesn’t just rough you up and take your lunch money. Scalped grabs you from behind and slams you into a wall and pulls out your heart and shows it to you. Jason Aaron has really done some outstanding work on this book and RM Guera is a national treasure. You think you like crime fiction? Read this, you will discover it’s a way of life.

Jon