§ April 19th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

Well, first one out of the AiT/Planetlar box is Last of The Independents by Matt Fraction and Kieron Dwyer. There is a minor spoiler ahead (more about the structure of the story, than any specifics).

It’s a “tough people doing bad things but you root for them anyway” story, where three people (an older gentleman, his younger lady lover, and a big muscular fella who’s a bit on the slow side) rob a bank, but end up with several million dollars that belong to a mob boss. The majority of the story is our gang of three staying ahead of the mob’s army of enforcers…it’s a fast-paced story, told with a minimum of dialogue and a focus on action. Fraction’s thank-yous in the back of the book (Clint Eastwood, Segio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, etc.) probably tell you more about the story than I ever could. As far as the actual plot goes…it’s very slight, but that’s by intention. You only get just enough information to move the story along.

One of the nice touches is that the characters’ backstories wait until there’s a lull in the action, and given that the action doesn’t let up for most of the book, that means we really don’t get these backstories until just before the climax. At that point, though, it doesn’t really matter…just from what we’ve seen in the interaction among the characters up to that point, any questions we had about the relationship among these three people have either 1) been answered in our own heads, or 2) relegated to the position of “oh, we don’t need to know those stories anyway.” When the backstories do come, then, it’s a nice surprise.

Visually, the book is very attractive. It’s printed in sepia tones, it’s comic-sized but formatted on its side (like Liberty Meadows or those Garfield strip reprint books), with few panels per page. The art has a rough, sketchy look to it, which adds to the down-and-dirty western feel of the story. It looks like a spaghetti western translated to the printed page, in tone if not in content.

It’s an afternoon movie, not deep but certainly entertaining. Recommended for fans of Eastwood and Leone (as mentioned previously), Straight to Hell, and Preacher (which, in an odd way, I was reminded of while reading this comic).

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