Do you know why pulpy crime stories are great? Because cops back then could really kick the snot out of a crook and no one cared. In fact people were like, “Thanks for making that guy brain dead because he was a damn thief.” I’m exaggerating a little of course, but there did exist an era in which cops where maybe as crooked as the criminals they chased and that’s interesting. Now if you take that setting and place a serial killer in the middle of it you have the world of Black of Heart. The story kicks off with our two homicide cops looking to cap off the night when a purse snatcher runs past them. Drake, whose wife just left him, catches up with the man who claims that he “didn’t do anything”. Drake pulls out his gun and nearly ends the man’s life as his rage boils up in him. Luckily for the purse snatcher Drake’s partner shows up and Drake holsters the pistol.
In another part of town our serial killer is making new “art” with a woman’s body. He’s getting ready to dump the girl for the cops to find when two kids spot him and run and tell a nearby cop. The “cabbie” speeds off, but this mistake gives Drake his first break on the case. Now if his toothache would subside long enough for him to think straight.
I really dig this story and the world it’s set in. Thanks to terrible cop procedural shows we forget that solving a murder is extremely difficult and used to be much harder. Add in the fact that the killer is very intelligent and it makes it even tougher. Writer Chris Carlton does a great job with the pacing of the story. Due to the style and pacing there isn’t exactly any character development, but it’s entertaining to see Drake at the end of his rope and nearly taking a life because of it.
David Hollenbach’s style is difficult to classify. It looks to have some photo manipulation or at the very least photo-reference to it. His style fits the tone of the series and brings the world to life. You will truly believe that you’re looking into a window that leads to 1949. Hollenbach captures the era and that’s very important because it makes the narrative all the more believable. For the most part the art is in all black and white, but there are occasional splashes of color that stand out and add to the effectiveness of the action or story in general.
Our serial killer has made the classic “mistake”, but now it’s up to our rock-bottom detective to put the pieces together. Yes there are familiar elements to this story, but it’s very well-constructed that it feels very fresh and exciting. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and you should jump on board too.
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Black of Heart #2 Writer: Chris Charlton Artist: David Hollenbach Publisher: Assailant Comics Price: $4.99 Website: AssailantComics.com