I did this last year, so I’m doing it again : in an effort to gin up interest in my Patreon site, I’m posting a selection of reviews that ran on there originally with the brazen goal being to get you, dear reader, to part with a buck (or more, if you wish) per month so that yours truly can find some level of intellectual justification for the sheer amount of time I put into cranking out so much comics criticism. Really, anything helps and is much appreciated. Next up : proof that I don’t ignore the comics mainstream entirely, as I take a look at the first volume in the new graphic novel series from the fan-favorite creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips —
Here’s the deal : the crime comics “dream team” of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been at it for so damn long now — over two decades, in fact — that they’re bound miss on occasion. The problem for me as a reader and as a critic, though, is that they had a pretty long string of misses going before finally hitting again with their most recent run of Criminal (in particular the two-issue yarn collected as Bad Weekend, which featured a clear Gil Kane stand-in up to even more underhanded shit than the real Gil Kane was sometimes known to be) and, especially, the pulp-western-New Deal thriller PULP, which for my money may be the high-water mark of their collaboration to date. So, after a long dry spell, 2018-2019 saw the pair, in my humble estimation, back on a real roll.
You know what they say, though — nothing lasts forever. And while eschewing the single-issue rat race in favor of going directly to self-contained-but-interconnected graphic novels with the adventures of their newest character, Ethan Reckless (hey, don’t laugh — the serial-novel heroes he’s loosely based on such as Remo “The Destroyer” Williams and, even more absurdly, Mark “The Penetrator” Hardin, are exponentially more ludicrous) makes pretty good sense in the post-COVID comics marketplace, unfortunately too much on offer in his debut story, Reckless, simply doesn’t. That’s my queue to tell you that small but crucial “spoilers” follow —