Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight

June 13, 2008

This is an amazing detective story. It reasons in a manner that is consistently only one step ahead of its reader, enough to let him or her feel the edge of the action throughout. One is struck by not just the peculiar sudden event of the murder that then needs solving but also the secret past of its prober, the tale’s hugely talented but self-depreciating private eye, Jack Herriman. We sense how this fascinating inquirer’s tired but involved pursuit of truth and his systematic but fragmented methods yield results mostly by also hinting at something personal and deep-seated. Like it or not, before the story ends, more old wounds will be revisited as more dirt is uncovered and more scars re-marked.

Scene of the Crime is an early Ed Brubaker title, and it shows amplifyingly why he should have become such a huge star in the American comic industry today. Like Deadenders, another turn-of-the-century showcase for this outrageously gifted individual, this series had an unfortunate premature termination due to God knows what. If you ever need proof that a strong fiction-writing style can positively transform the comic genre with its visual imperative, this title should do nicely. It demonstrates how the use need not have to end up in drony or pictorally disconnected prose and then demonstrates it again with supremely adept artists Michael Lark on pencils and Sean Phillips on ink. Both this book’s youth and age, its sense of fun and its mature treatment of characters, wonderfully keep us guessing which end of life inspires its creators more.

Gweek gives this volume 9 green bottles on the wall.

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