Adapted by Darwyn Cooke
As I've said before, I have no connection to Richard Stark's writing, or to the character of Parker, a gruff master thief. I am, however, a big fan of Darwyn Cooke's art and writing, and so I am always happy to pick up one of his Parker graphic novels.
The Score is the third in his series of adaptations, and I think it is the best one I've read to date. Cooke (or Stark; I'm not sure if he's taking liberties with pacing) wastes no time setting up the plot of this story. A man has gathered a group of criminals to help him execute a really big job.
This guy, Edgars, wants Parker to organize a heist which will take out an entire town - Copper Canyon, North Dakota. The entire town is surrounded by cliffs, and is attached to a large mining operation. Edgars has it all figured out - the group can take the mine's payroll, and knock off the two banks and the various stores in one night, and take off with a large score (at least for the time - the notion of doing all this for only a quarter of a million dollars is a little laughable now).
I like stories that concern themselves as much with the set-up of jobs like this as they do the actual mission itself, and Cooke balances the story nicely. When the job goes down, it goes without saying that something goes wrong, but Stark doesn't seem all that interested in including moral lessons in his work, so the town has a pretty bad night.
What really makes these books work is the great period detail in Cooke's art. The story has moved beyond feeling outdated to feeling vintage. A story like this could never be told in our modern time, and Cooke wallows in nostalgia for a simpler, better-looking time.