This is an interesting series and I’m not sure how it’s going to be received. For me, I live in California and very close to Hollywood which is where this story takes place. It’s about a former child commercial actor that’s turned into a hit-man. The thing is he’s still a bit of an actor which leads him to other “jobs.” I like the concept a lot, but perhaps due to my close proximity I didn’t find the wonder of Hollywood to be all that appealing. That’s why I’m curious to see how others receive this book; will they find it more interesting or less? The story opens up in a very cliché way with our main character Richie Reese sitting on a therapists couch and talking about his addiction to fame. Everything about the scene feels like a script; even when Richie pulls out a gun and points it at the therapist. Until he pulls the trigger. It’s great because the visuals pull out from this point and we see that there were actually on a set, but now the crew is freaking out and running. Richie on the other hand begins eating a candy bar and casually strolls out.
The next day we find Richie pool side with two topless women taking a call from his handler/hitman agent. His agent Charlie tells him to lay low since he’s now a known killer and isn’t going to stir up any clients that way. Richie tells him it was the opposite and that he’s already getting job offers, but that he turned them down because there were the same type of job. Charlie tells him about a new job he has to kill a woman that’s a triple agent and is working with the Feds to expose Charlie. Richie takes the job of course and gets to finding the triple agent.
There’s aspects of the story I like. At times the dialogue is very good and other times it’s incredibly cheesy. Granted sometimes I assume it’s supposed to be cheesy, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Richie’s character and backstory on the other hand are great. He uses Hollywood tricks to get jobs done and that’s actually a really cool concept. Really it’s the concept that shines the brightest in this first issue, but it shows a ton of potential as a series because of the creative talent. There’s clearly something else going on with Charlie, but writer Fabrice Sapolsky has left that open for discovery in future issues.
The issue also struggles with pacing. The opening is slow, but it’s building towards the reveal which is fine, but then we go into a very long conversation between Richie and Charlie and a lot of the information is just spoon fed to the audience. Around the mid-way point of the story it finds its groove, but it’s definitely choppy in the beginning.
I’m a huge fan of Ariel Olivetti and so anytime I see his art I’m delighted. His work here is as detailed as always, but he’s definitely taken his time with the backgrounds to make sure that they’re rich and full. There are still patented Olivetti panels in which the action between the two characters is the focus and the background is blank, but he keeps it to a minimum here and the story is better because of it. Olivetti is a great choice for action; so what parts there are, he nails wonderfully.
Aside from the main story there’s a great black and white story at the end which shows Richie doing work in between the pages of our main story. It’s a great inclusion and actually helps add layers to Richie’s character. Jean-Marie Minguez has a wonderful style and while it’s very different from Olivetti’s it matches Richie’s personality and Sapolsky’s writing.
As I said, I’m interested in this series. I like the concept and I’m intrigued by the ending. It’s definitely gotten its hooks into me and so I want to come back for more. This isn’t the strongest first issue I’ve ever read though. Without the concept it would be a very average story of a hit man and while that’s not terrible, it definitely has the potential to be more. Let me know what you think in the comments, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to the second issue for sure.
Writer: Fabrice Sapolsky Artists: Ariel Olivetti, Jean-Marie Minguez Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/26/14