02 November 2012

on point of impact

Jay Faerber was a guy who had pretty much dropped off my radar until recently.  I liked Dodge's Bullets way back when, but I was never all that enthused about his DC work and never got into Noble Causes.  In the last year or so, though, I really got into Near Death, a grossly underrated crime comic that unfortunately stopped publication after its recent eleventh issue.  Near Death started as a relatively generic crime story about a hitman motivated to change his life after a near-death experience.  It was okay at first but really hit its stride around #6 or so, and became this lovely showcase for done-in-one crime stories.  NOT noir, by the way - Brubaker & Phillips have that covered, I think - this was more akin to Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth's work on Stumptown.  Faerber began including text pieces as well, most of which expounded on some form of crime fiction, be it movies, tv, or books.  Turns out he and I like a lot of the same stuff.  The later issues of Near Death also included backup stories, most of which were vignettes really, but the backmatter turned the book into this really cool showcase of crime fiction.

In the wake of Near Death comes Faerber's new series, Point of Impact, also from Image.  This time around Faerber is joined by artist Koray Kuranel for a four issue, black-and-white miniseries about a murder investigation.  It's as best I can tell intended to be a self-contained story with all-new characters.  The premise is that two lovebirds are driving home from a night out when a woman literally falls from the sky and lands on top of their car.  Is it a suicide?  Well, she's too far from the nearest building to have jumped.  Murder?  Someone threw her off a building?  How?  Why?  The series then follows several different POV characters, all of whom have some connection to the event, and all of whom seem to have something to hide.

Kuranel's art has an unpolished, unfinished quality to it, leaving the book looking more rough around the edges than Near Death was.  But that's kind of cool - it works in the B&W format, and though Kuranel isn't quite at the top of his game yet, his work has a palpable energy to it.  Faerber continues the text pieces in the back, and literally the whole book including the ads is in B&W.  

One issue in, and I'm hooked.  This is something different from Criminal or Fatale - I like those books a lot but they are not the entirety of crime fiction.  If you're hungry for more, this is one to check out.  

- By the way, Stumptown is back too, and it's rolling so far.  The new arc has a tie to one of my favorite of Rucka's novels, A Fistful of Rain.

- And speaking of B&W books, are you reading Punk Rock Jesus (Sean Murphy)?  If not, start.

- In many respects, Action Comics #13 (Grant Morrison/ Travel Foreman) wasn't one of the series' better issues.  It was okay but durn Phantom Stranger is so boring.  I gotta say, though - the night I read that issue, I had had a really shitty day.  Nothing worth going into - just a lousy day.  I read the book in bed before I went to sleep.  My dog Peanut sleeps with my wife and I most nights, and as is his custom, he was scrunched up next to me while I was reading the issue.  Morrison and Scholly Fisch on the backup story utterly nail the relationship between Man and Man's Best Friend. It was quite a tonic after a lousy day.

- Seriously Foggy Nelson is the worst lawyer ever.  This guy makes She-Hulk look like a legal wizard.  See Daredevil #19 (Mark Waid/ Chris Samnee) for definitive proof.

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