Sunday, January 29, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Noir a Collection of Crime Comics

Let's see here...I love crime comics,  more specifically, I love noir crime comics.  So I walked into my local comic shop one day and what do I see? Noir a Collection of Crime Comics! As if anything could make me want to read this more, they go ahead and feature some of my favorite comic creators like Jeff Lemire, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Fabio Moon, and Gabriel Ba.

On the surface, this seems like it is pretty much the perfect graphic novel for a guy with my tastes.  However, as any good reader and dermatologist knows: you gotta get below the surface to find out what is really going on.

What you get in this slim little number is a bunch of comic shorts written and drawn by a plethora of creators, all working in black and white, pouring on that India ink to achieve the right atmosphere.

Its a pretty cool concept, and it works for some of the stories, but not all the stories.  The biggest problem that I had, was that many of the stories that were included in this collection walked a very fine line between being a crime story and being a horror story, and on a couple occasions, were pretty much straight up horror.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't have any problems with horror, but when I'm reading a collection of crime noir comics, I want the comics to actually be crime noir, not horror.

The highlights here were the stories by Lemire, Brubaker, Phillips, Moon and Ba, but I enjoyed a few others as well, most notably, The Last Hit written by Chris Offutt, and drawn by Kano and Stefano Guadiano.  The remainder of the tales ran the gamut from good to bad, and everywhere in between. As much as I enjoy the short form, and love checking out new comic writers and creators, both of which were amply provided for here, overall, I'd say this one was a bit of a disappointment; Mostly because it didn't really deliver on the crime noir as advertised.

There's definitely some mini treasures to be found here, but not enough of the good stuff to warrant my full recommendation.  If you like your crime with a healthy dose of horror, and want to read some short comics and feel out some creators, this is a good quick read.  If you are looking for some hard boiled crime noir, this doesn't quite cut the cake.

Grade: C-

No comments: