Written by Ande Parks
From a story by Ande Parks, Joe Russo, and Anthony Russo
Art by Fernando León González
Oni Press consistently puts out some very beautifully-designed and well-written hardcover graphic novels. Seeing that this was published by them (and was clearly not a kids or YA-oriented book) was enough to get me to want to glance through it. Recognizing Ande Park's name on the cover, the writer of the excellent Capote in Kansas, was enough to make me want to buy it.
Ciudad is a story about an American mercenary who is hired to rescue a Brazilian drug lord's daughter from kidnappers. They have taken her to Ciudad del Este, the Paraguayan border town known for its open border and access to just about any kind of trade you can imagine. The American, who goes by many names, gets her out of captivity in the first few pages of the book (the backstory is filled in as we go), and together they find themselves running a gauntlet of shady people, from police, the drug lord's people, and others who want them dead or at their disposal.
The Russo brothers, who came up with the story alongside Parks, are filmmakers, and that blockbuster energy is clear on just about every page of this book. Like many comics, I feel like this might have been made as a prelude to trying to make a movie, and so things rarely slow down for more than a page at a time. Parks paces the story well.
The art, by Fernando León González, is nice but a little stiff. Too many of the action sequences became confusing, when González had to fit multiple vehicles or people into panels that are a little too small. His work is fine, but something more dynamic might have helped propel the story better.
Still, if you're looking for a solid adventure read, you will be happy with this fine graphic novel.