One-eyed JACK HERRIMAN runs a small, one-man detective agency in San Francisco with the aid of his uncle Knut, a once famous crime scene photographer, and Molly, his uncle's sweetie, in this intriguing 1999 four-part comic series from the folks at DC/Vertigo. With just the right Chandleresque mix of cynicism and vulnerability, the four-part Scene of the Crime's a winner, sure to thrill you... and then break your heart. The art and text work perfectly together, in a tough-minded tale of loss and redemption, revenge and forgiveness. The perfect hard-boiled tale to strip the veneer off the Oprah generation and the bad taste of far too many P.I. comics by people who haven't a clue about the genre.
And the Christmas story, "God and Sinners" that ran a few months before the series as a sort of tease, in the 1998 Vertigo winter annual, is an almost-perfect hard-boiled Yuletide tale. "Joy to the fucking world," indeed.
Writer Ed Brubaker is probably best known for bumping off Captain America, but originally he was known for such acclaimed projects as Lowlife (an autobiographical alternative comic), At the Seams, Detour, An Accidental Death, Prez and contributions to Dark Horse Presents, such as the private eye tale "Here and Now." He moved on to inject some much-needed hard-boiled grit and noir depth to such superheroes as Batman for DC and Captain America and Daredevil for Marvel. He even brought DC's original two-fisted private eye Slam Bradley back from the dead, first as a back-up feature in Detective Comics #759, August 2001, which served as a sort of dry run for re-introducing Slam into his revamped Catwoman comic. And in 2006, he resurrected Dakota North, Marvel's fashion model-turned-gumshoe, as a supporting character in a surprisingly noirish story arc in Daredevil.
Artist Michael Lark has done some great work in this genre, most notably Terminal City, a sorta retro-sci-fi/noir hybrid, and The Little Sister, a graphic novel adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novel, but, in my ever-so-humble opinion, Scene of the Crime may be his best work yet.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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