I read this book partly because my job has required me to have a lot closer relationship with law enforcement than I have in the past and I thought itI read this book partly because my job has required me to have a lot closer relationship with law enforcement than I have in the past and I thought it might give me some helpful insights into what the realities of life as a police officer are like. In that capacity, the book was a pretty good read and I was surprised by how many commonalities I did recognize about the work that I do as a domestic violence advocate and the kinds of struggles that law enforcement officers have to deal with on a daily basis. Since both positions require an ability to stay calm and advocate for safety within difficult, dangerous crisis situations and both positions involve a lot of complicated bureaucracy navigation, it makes sense that there's a lot that's shared. I still remain somewhat skeptical toward many, many aspects of the criminal justice system in its current form and there were definitely things I questioned in Conlon's account, I felt like it was a pretty accurate account of what is involved in being an officer. The pacing of the overall book does get kind of slow in pacing in parts and I would have been interested to actually read more about what being a detective was actually like, which is where the book ends. Still an interesting read though. ...more
This book was just ok for me, even though it is firmly in the crime/horror genre that I'm usually a big fan of. I didn't feel like the big twist/reveaThis book was just ok for me, even though it is firmly in the crime/horror genre that I'm usually a big fan of. I didn't feel like the big twist/reveal at the end was all that great and the narration of the family drama felt kind of hackneyed and overdone. ...more
Another fabulous noir-inflected graphic novel adaptation by Jacques Tardi of french crime writer Manchette, who I definitely need to check out separatAnother fabulous noir-inflected graphic novel adaptation by Jacques Tardi of french crime writer Manchette, who I definitely need to check out separately from these brilliant graphic novels as a huge noir fan. I might have liked West Coast Blues just a hair better than this one and *spoiler alert* the ending of this one is incredibly bleak. It is a really great, dark work though and reading through it is like getting a chance to watch a previously undiscovered classic Melville or Dassin movie. LOVE. ...more
I liked Mad Night, but felt like it had a few flaws that keep me from giving it four stars. For one thing, there are A LOT of spooky characters to keeI liked Mad Night, but felt like it had a few flaws that keep me from giving it four stars. For one thing, there are A LOT of spooky characters to keep straight. At the end of the graphic novel there is a cast list with pictures and I really wish they had just put that at the beginning of the book instead, because it would have made it easier to keep what was going on straight. My other criticism is that there's a lot of jumping around to different scenes within individual pages of the graphic novel, without a lot of framing of where you are from panel to panel as he shifts around to different characters. This made it more confusing than it had to be and seemed a bit sloppy to me in terms of the narrative and layout overall. I like the drawing and kind of liked the story, it reminded me of a spookier version of Matt Kindt's Super Spy, but I just wish it had been a little more clearly plotted out for the reader. ...more
I really, really like Richard Sala. His art style is really great, I love his horror sensibilities, and most of his books prominently feature a reallyI really, really like Richard Sala. His art style is really great, I love his horror sensibilities, and most of his books prominently feature a really bitchin' female main character. Some his works can verge a bit on the silly side, but I thought that while Cat Burglar Black still had the campy elements of Sala's style, it also had a much more complex plot and more developed characterization than usual making it a particularly worthwhile read. ...more
Oh man. I wish I had really taken the time to write a review of every volume of Powers, but I have been remiss in my Goodreads duties and now I'm a biOh man. I wish I had really taken the time to write a review of every volume of Powers, but I have been remiss in my Goodreads duties and now I'm a bit hazy on which volume is which. I guess I will have to try to track down library copies and read them again.
I was really late coming to this awesome, awesome series because I had tried to read Jinx and some of Brian Michael Bendis' more "hardboiled" crime graphic novels before and just couldn't really get that into them. A lot of the elements were there that I should have really loved, but I just felt like the writing was clunky. Better than Frank Miller's Sin City stuff, but still just . . . not well written for my taste. But Powers has won me over to the Bendis camp because it is totally brilliant. It has been ages since I've gotten so wrapped up in a comics plot or loved characters so much. And for as much as it satirizes superhero comics and the noir/cop genres, I was totally caught off guard by what a dark and serious work it actually is. If they made a superhero version of The Wire, I don't think you'd get a better rendition than Powers.
The real superstar draw for me though is Deena Pilgrim. She has to be one of the best female comic book heroines of all time. She is incredibly tough, while still being human and complicated and totally hilarious. She's such a real, three dimensional character. I loooooove her to death. I am a total Deena Pilgrim fan girl now.
Bendis also does a great job of pacing the series well, especially when it comes to the gradual build he creates with the dynamic between Pilgrim and Walker. I love how real their partnership feels and the chemistry they have. I don't know if I would have thought it was possible for comic book characters to have powerful chemistry before. It seems like something more reserved for actual live action tv series and movies. But the relationship between Pilgrim and Walker is easily as compelling as Scully and Mulder's was before the X-Files went off the rails. And I think Bendis does a great job of subverting stereotypical male/female roles in their relationship.
I don't think Powers is totally flawless. I think there are some kinks to the layouts that sometimes make you work harder to read it than you should have to and I don't always feel like Oeming's more cartoonish art style matches the story. Overall though, it is a really, really great series and highly recommend it. ...more
This series is so amazing and I say that not just because I really, really love crime fiction and graphic novels and this is an amazing blending of boThis series is so amazing and I say that not just because I really, really love crime fiction and graphic novels and this is an amazing blending of both. I love the cinematic quality of Paul Grist's art style and all of the nods he makes to noir film conventions in the series. One of my favorite things about comics is how true masters of the medium can build narrative through the art and Grist's innovative layouts really propel you through the emotions and plots of his stories. He uses the stark black and white of the art and plays with negative space in a really great way. His stories are really intricate and worth reading through a second time to really catch all the details you may have missed during the first read through. And last but not least, I love the character of Kate Felix, who is such a strong, independent female character. If you love Powers and other Brian Michael Bendis joints, I really recommend checking out Kane. ...more
Even though I'm a really big fan of crime fiction and of graphic novels, books like this one make me feel like comics are just not really the best forEven though I'm a really big fan of crime fiction and of graphic novels, books like this one make me feel like comics are just not really the best format to write crime fiction in. This puzzles me because one of the things I like most about crime fiction is how economical and spare the prose in it often is, which should be a natural fit with the comics genre, and comics have so much in common with film, which obviously lends itself marvelously to the noir genre.
I would also point out that there are many notable exceptions to what I'm saying within comics in, Mammoth's Best Crime Comics anthology, which is gorgeous and shows the great possibilities there are, Jacques Tardi's West Coast Blues, Matt Kindt's Super Spy, even Black Hole by Charles Burns which has a lot of noir elements. Most of the best examples I mentioned above, however, display two very important things: they feature a distinctive, interesting art style that helps ground the emotional content of the story and tightly written and developed plots which keep you engaged in the twists and turns. As someone who prefers James Cain to Dashiel Hammett, my favorite crime novels actually are vastly more character driven than plot driven, since Cain's plots for example are almost always a very straightforward love triangle + money = murder formula. Something about the graphic novel format, however, makes it a lot harder to pull off character driven crime fiction.
For another thing, graphic novels do have a lot of inherently cinematic qualities without having a lot of the important advantages of film. There is still a lot of careful framing of panels and plenty of opportunity to experiment with the light and shadow that is such a common feature of noir in comics. But, what you do not have, is an easy way of controlling how the reading of a graphic novel is paced like you would with a film. You also lack the tone and delivery of the actors and actresses.
Crime comics that do not compensate for the lack of these elements ultimately just don't work for me and this book is a good example. The art style is pretty pedestrian, the writing pretty hohum, and the result is that there's no real sense of build up to the climactic scene. I'm sure that some of the passages in this book would work if it was actually in movie format because you'd have so much more to go on in the actors' voices, you'd have a feeling for the characters, you'd have the pacing of the film to propel it forward. Without those things though, this book feels like a limp imitation of its inspirations. ...more
I reread the first Whiteout and then read this second volume recently. I remember feeling pretty meh about the first Whiteout when I read it a coupleI reread the first Whiteout and then read this second volume recently. I remember feeling pretty meh about the first Whiteout when I read it a couple years ago, but the second read made me wonder why I hadn't liked it that much. I really like the main character here and the tone of the novels, along with the brilliant Antarctica setting which really adds a lot of atmosphere to them also. ...more
This has been on my to-read list for so long it's ridiculous and I'm glad to have finally gotten around to reading this classic of non-fiction and theThis has been on my to-read list for so long it's ridiculous and I'm glad to have finally gotten around to reading this classic of non-fiction and the true crime genre. It has everything that critics have so often already praised about it and which made it such great material to build a movie around. Indeed it is a book that reads like a movie, the events in it unfolding with vivid, cinematic detail and the characters set in their tragic, respective fates while the world spins on around them. I was surprised by how, more than being just a portrait of a senseless, devastating murder, it paints a picture of rural life in America in all the glory of an era which seems to have passed all of us by. And for all that it is still very subtle and balanced. It would have been easy to really sensationalize the story or turn it into a maudlin soap opera melodrama, but Capote creates a simple, straight-forward voice that suits the material and underscores the terror of the subject matter without ever going over the top. ...more
I just adore Jacques Tardi's style and was so thrilled to find this at the comic book store. An adventure/noir/scifi-esque series featuring a strong fI just adore Jacques Tardi's style and was so thrilled to find this at the comic book store. An adventure/noir/scifi-esque series featuring a strong female main character drawn by Jacques Tardi? I can't imagine something more unbelievably awesome. With that said, I'm not sure I'm as into this book as I was into "You Are There" in all it's weird, philosophical/existential glory or "West Coast Blues'" perfect noir, but I'm still very excited about the series. I can't wait for them to start releasing some of the other books and to see the movie adaptation that apparently inspired its American release and which I was previously unaware. ...more
I was hoping I'd be more into this than I was, considering how much I love crime novels and noir and comic books, but I just couldn't quite get into iI was hoping I'd be more into this than I was, considering how much I love crime novels and noir and comic books, but I just couldn't quite get into it. I feel like some graphic novels really try too hard to be cinematic, to the point that you'd rather watch the movie of it than actually read it. This is definitely the case with Jinx, which isn't badly written per se, but the stark black and white silhouetted drawing style made it hard to figure out what was even going on in a lot of the action sequences. Frank Miller uses stark black and white with great stylistic flourish. Here, it just starts to get in its own way. I couldn't help longing for simple outline drawings of the characters where I could actually see their expressions and actions....more
A French noiry graphic novel about a women investigating her sister's death by going undercover in a brothel. I really liked the vibrant colors and thA French noiry graphic novel about a women investigating her sister's death by going undercover in a brothel. I really liked the vibrant colors and the art style, which reminds me of Joann Sfar. Even though it's within certain genre formalities, there are some nice surprises and twists along the way. ...more