Image Comics 2016
Written & Illustrated by Howard Chaykin
Coloured by Jesus Aburtov
Lettered by Ken Bruzenak
I am completely enamoured with this story. Joel has no idea what he’s doing only that he’s looking for his wife who has been leading a double life for who knows how long now. His time in the War left him an alcoholic and completely withdrawn so Patricia took on a new persona and with her brother pimping her out had become quite successful. That is until a coloured man she’d seeing wound up dead and the mob well they are making her the patsy. Now it’s a race against time for who is going to find her first.
That this whole thing is set in the late forties early fifties New York City is absolutely delightful. Howard catches the good, the bad and bright and the dark of the city beautifully here on the interiors. There’s also a nice nod to one of my favourite coffee brands too. The artwork also has this great sense of style in it’s fashion and with Jesus colouring some of these patterns I have to admit that i’m awfully impressed with what they are bringing to this story.
As Joel runs into Dierdre again and she’s willing to help him out as much as she can. I’m still trying to figure her out I mean she’s popped up here now and it’s like she’s got something invested in this well but hides it extremely well. What’s really impressive however is the narration from Joel that Howard brings us. I mean it’s a frank and honest account of what Joel is going through complete with what a donut does to his insides. It’s also incredible characterization and the ability it has to give us a look at him as a man and his background, the time spent at war, it really is extremely impressive.
For whatever reason during Joel’s hunt and amateur sleuthing he seems to run across more than his fair share of pansies. First the two out looking for Patricia as well and now Huncke who may have information he needs. Oh and don’t worry these two and those two meet up this issue and I have to say I love the banter between them all once they do encounter each other. After of course Mr. O has stressed the importance of finding her to his guy who in turns relays that our “heavies.”
I’m enjoying the whole chase that’s going on here. The way Howard presents this from a writing standpoint is marvelously crafted. So close yet so far you have to wonder if Joel is ever going to find her and get whatever answers he’s looking for. The fact that I don’t think even he knows what answers he’s looking for doesn’t seem to matter, does he want reconciliation or and ending or just trying to make right what he let go so wrong? It’s a fascinating look at this man’s life and what he’s willing to do.
Visually you just can’t beat this. The way the story flows through the pages and panels with angles, perspective and use of backgrounds is vintage Chaykin. It’s so well rendered and coloured by Jesus that you can’t help but get caught up in the largest little city there is.
For what it’s worth this is the kind of book you’ll fall in love with for a myriad of reasons but it all boils down to masterful storytelling in the end.