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The Killer: Modus Vivendi #5
posted November 22, 2010
Matz, Luc Jacamon
Archaia, comic book, 28 pages, 2010, $3.95
The pleasures derived from thrillers depend largely on the individual. If you're one that sees action movies for the various locales and for the spectacle of the set pieces, even a comic book as skillfully executed as this strangely, largely stand-alone late-series issue of Archaia's latest The Killer
series may not supply the requisite oomph despite its well-delineated comics equivalents of both. If what appeals is the notion of the cast-off man, the loner that stands outside of society and separate from its more standard spoiler agents, making commentary on both, you'll probably find a great deal to enjoy in the methodical voice and outsider's perspective that drives the narrative. This latest issue of Archaia's third go-round with the Casterman series pushes our lead deeper into the muck of political assassination and global corporate power plays in what one figures is an extended attempt to secure himself and those he cares about a place of safe purchase on the other side.
The material here is of an entirely different class than that found in the scrambling, desperate mob of North American comics hoping to self-publish their way into a low-level development deal, to the point where one feels bad for both sides in making the comparison. Luc Jacamon not only draws a convincing world of free agents and overconfident power players that saunter through life as if it on an extended lunch hour, he actually pays attention to page design and the direction in which figures move the readers' eyes across the page. He even understands how individual tableaux change according to the nearest light source. I wish the story pushed at the boundaries with half as much force. While the initial assassination is well-staged, nothing about the plot or any individual moment of scripting feels like a twist on ancient formula; the story feel like one we've seen a dozen times, or maybe, in some cases, a few dozen. There's still an issue's worth of material to go, however -- and a chance the lead could flip on several relationships in a compelling way if push comes to shove. Even if this The Killer: Modus Vivendi
remains a resolutely old-fashioned genre exercise, it entertains for the most part like it's brand-new.