Friday, December 18, 2009

Filthy Rich

Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Victor Santos

This is the other 'first book' published under Vertigo's new 'Vertigo Crime' imprint, and it has the benefit of being an actual crime comic, although again, it is not a traditional one.

"Junk" is an ex-football star who never got his chance in the majors, and who has shuffled through life ever since. He's a horrible used car salesman, his only assets being his fleeting brush with fame and his ability in the bedroom. His boss decides he's better suited to keeping an eye on his daughter Vicki, a spoiled rich girl who ends up in the newspapers from time to time, but never for positive reasons. He's not exactly a bodyguard - she's not to know he's there - he's more of a fixer.

Junk is quickly drawn into her world, interacting with her and her friends, as they prowl what I assume is mid-50s New York. This being a crime book, of course something bad happens, and Junk and Vicki both start to look for something more from the other.

It's an interesting premise and set-up, although Azzarello fails somewhat in the execution. The story feels a little too convoluted in places, with a few too many characters that aren't easily differentiated. The art is serviceable, looking like a strange mash-up of Frank Robbins, Eduardo Risso, and Jordi Bernet. On some pages, the art is very realistic, but then a few pages later, it becomes almost cartoonish. The shift can be jarring.

I do like the choice of setting the story in that span of time between the war and the civil rights movement. It allows Azzarello to rely on a number of social constructions that don't exist anymore, which is necessary, because this story could not be set in our instant-media world.

No comments: