Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics 2017
Written by Max Allan Collins
Illustrated by Szymon Kudranski
Coloured by Guy Major
Lettered by Comicraft
Former U.S. Marine sniper Quarry has found a new vocation as a professional assassin. But when his latest contract turns out to be an old acquaintance from his military days, the fresh-faced hit man finds himself battling against his own conscience as secrets from the past start to reveal themselves.
I’ve been really impressed with the whole Hard Case Crime imprint. The stories have been smart, interesting and full of ambiance that I find intriguing. I’ll wholeheartedly admit that I hadn’t heard of Quarry’s War before reading this issue so to find out it’s a comics adaptation of something that already exists made my eyebrow go up. So now I’m going to have to read the first book in the series, provided I can find it, also I'm going to have to check out the television series as well. Titan keeps bringing me series that have outside influences in their creation that drive me to find them and get involved with them. How often do you find this happening to you? If the answer isn’t often then you need to start reading more of these books.
Max does an interesting take on the then and now tactic of storytelling. For as we are seeing Quarry settle into a new job we also see where everything started for him. I like this because it is interesting to see both how he was and is while also seeing what remains the same in his personality. It’s not something that’s easy to do but Max handles it with aplomb. Also I gotta give some kudos here as his partner in the now is Boyd and he’s an openly gay man and this is set in the 1970’s where acceptance wasn’t normal and neither is the idea of a gay contract killer. So the dynamic we see here is both interesting, respectful and well done with characterisation.
I’m a big of Szymon’s as well and he has a very seasoned eye for storytelling using the page layouts through their angles and perspective. Here while he makes it look comic book than normal perhaps it’s still this attention to detail that I love seeing from him. The utilisation of backgrounds is superb and it’s the little details here that make things stand out and garner your attention. Boyd’s porn stache for instance is one of those you kind of giggle and think well that was the rage then. Then seeing the ‘Nam sections with the uniforms, guns and jungle it’s just really impressive the way he’s able to do it all so smoothly and deftly.
So I find it highly interesting to see how the target that Quarry and Boyd have is under scrutiny from them. The background information they’ve got and seeing them plan where and when to take out said target. The guys have different roles but work well together and it’s Quarry who is the shooter while Boyd is the set-up guy, gathers intelligence and viable scenarios for taking him out. How they play off each other and what’s revealed amazes me in the way that it’s never a normal family there’s always some creepy ass shit happening with them. Even though they aren’t the target his children are off the charts disturbed.
So we have the then and now which is serving multiple purposes and we have this characterisation that’s top notch and all of it is structured so very well. The ebb & flow is exceptional work and it gets us interested, invested and intrigued to see where this is going. Overall it’s a reading comic, you have to read it and I mean really read it to get the maximum effect glossing over just won’t cut it.
Another stellar adaptation from Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics of something Max created in novel form to begin with.