Review: Carver: A Paris Story

To say that I’m high on this story is a bit of an understatement. It’s absolutely one of the best stories I’ve read all year and will factor heavily into my end of the year award list. That said, I’m behind on reviewing it which is a damn shame because Chris Hunt delivers in a big way with this story. I’m going to be straight with you all and tell you what I feel the story is about. I could be wrong to a degree. Chris Hunt could message me and tell me that I missed the mark, but I’m going to go for it rather than what I usually do which is nothing.

Carver: A Paris Story is about a man coming home from the war and needing help putting back the pieces of his life. Which, if you’ve read the story, sounds a bit crazy at first read. Because as the story introduces us to Carver he’s a bad ass. A man that’s broken inside, but a natural born killer. He’s good at it; it’s what he’s become known for, and as the story presses on, we see that. We see it a lot, but what Hunt does is show that Carver isn’t like other anti-heroes in that he feels nothing for the death he causes. Rather, he goes to another place in his mind and when he comes out, he’s a bit confused as to what he’s done. The instinct to survive kicks in and Carver checks out.

carver-a-paris-story-tpbThe story has a natural progression that continues to build and build upon the action. The first issue has the softest amount of action but instantly develops Carver into a no-nonsense character. Hunt creates one of the most realistic scenes for this genre in that he doesn’t give anyone the chances to bullshit and then fight. Instead, Carver just initiates a fight after being approached by thugs looking to rough him up. Again, the battles Carver faces continue to build and build until the ending. Hunt masterfully chooses when we see a fight and when we just come out on the other end, much like Carver. Because in the end, it’s not about the action. It’s about the man. It’s about the cost of war and the promises that family makes.

Chris Hunt writes a story that’s equal parts amazing in its action and bad ass anti-heroism as much as it is a deep character story. I would need to sit down and think of everything else that was released this year that I read to think of what could even come close to being this good. Because it’s not just the story that’s fantastic, but the art as well.

As I’ve said already, Hunt takes the story into action and sometimes we just come out on the other end. This is also done with the visuals, but nowhere better than when Carver is thinking about the war and particularly painful memory. The page is draped in black ink, but somehow I feel that Hunt actually illustrated the entire two pages first and then decided what to cover in black. The reason being because it genuinely feels as if we’re climbing out of the dark recesses of Carver’s mind and that is frankly some of the best damn visual storytelling I have ever read. The story is in all black and white, but Hunt thoroughly understands how to use the contrast and doesn’t leave it looking as if the color was neglected, but rather unneeded.

I know that my original graphic novel category is going to be difficult this year. I have three contenders that come to mind instantly, but when it comes to mini-series… I don’t know if anything can be Carver: A Paris Story and I'm not sure if I want anything to beat it. This is the type of comic that makes you want to read more comics. It makes you want to experience new types of comics from new creators. Simply put, it makes you fall in love with the medium all over again.

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Carver: A Paris Story Creator: Chris Hunt Publisher: Z2 Comics Price: $14.99 Format: TPB; Print