Monday, July 29, 2013

Like A Sniper Lining Up His Shot

by Jacques Tardi, from a story by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Jacques Tardi's comic adaptation of a novel by French crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette is very capably done, but it's a strange little story.  In a lot of ways, Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot reminds me a great deal of Matz and Jacamon's The Killer.  Both books involve a hitman looking to retire from the business and settle down with a nice woman, and in both cases, the killer is forced back into the life he's trying to leave behind.

In this book, Martin Terrier hopes to walk away from ten years spent as a soldier of fortune and a gun for hire, and to reconnect with the girl he left back home, from whom he'd exacted a promise to wait for him.  Terrier's a strange character.  He doesn't show any remorse for his victims, or for the people in his life who get drawn into his mess, when the family of a victim come after him.  Yet, when he sees something that shocks him late in the book, he loses his voice and the ability to speak for some time.  That rang false for me, and kind of impacted my enjoyment of the book.

The strength of this novel is Tardi's wonderful artwork.  His figures are great, but I most enjoyed his portrayal of France in the 70s, especially the cars.  So far as crime comics go, this is a pretty solid one, and I got into it pretty quickly.

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