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The Last Days Of American Crime #3
posted October 12, 2010
Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini, Rus Wooten
Radical Comics, comic book, 56 pages, 2010, $4.99
This is one of those comics that seems like a movie pitch given visual life more than it does a comic book, with a specific twist: it's not a shoddy effort. No, this isn't slap-dash in any way. It's full, blazing color with a quality writer and artist and 56 slickly-coated pages for only one dollar more than the average mainstream comic's eight double-splash fight pages and six solo efforts of people sitting around talking. The reason I suspect it's a movie pitch is the plot -- which gives us the high concept of a group trying to commit a heist just as the government makes some sort of broadcast that won't allow people to commit crimes anymore -- and the fact that there can't be enough of a market out there to sustain the production values here. I'm not sure any comic out there would pay off at current sales numbers with this kind of treatment, but certainly not one featuring a sort-of science fiction/crime story as opposed to, you know, Batman.
It's okay. I didn't hate it, even though it's very much not for me. If this came on HBO at 3 AM when I was too worried I'd miss an airport shuttle to go back to sleep, I'd be happy with its company. Remender's script is much tighter and conveys a better sense of subtle shifts in character and character relationships than I remember from his early comics. Greg Tocchini's art is very pretty. His figures are idealized without quite crossing that line into being ugly and stiff. If there's one glaring weakness to the issue I read, the story's last, it's that his characters tend to overact in certain panels: they leer when they might look askance, they seethe when they might just glower, they preen when they might simply sit patiently. It's jarring, and took me out of the story three or four times.
Both Tocchini and Remender may have missed the boat in establishing a sense of place for the heist involved. It seems generically presented to me, walls and doors and rooms that signify as walls and doors and rooms rather than just being those things, let alone uniquely so. And although such groundwork could have been laid in previous issues, the locations never came alive for me in the same manner the that the characters -- broadly portrayed as they are -- did. The whole thing fairly skips across the surface that way, and it reminded me of the kind of movie that people were making right after Tarantino hit, the attractive moments and funny dialogue and well-filmed sequences that didn't seem to connected to any real thing, that seemed to actual noir
what '60s rock and roll was to the blues. You can dance to it, but it's not really the same thing.