I have been a fan of Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski’s story that is part Batman, part Sin City, and part Fifty Shades of Grey, yet all original in its presentation. I have found the writing to be detailed and complex evolving way farther from its original “nudie book” feeling that I fear it classified as from time to time. There is some deep stuff going on here however that has shown itself quite proudly to the reader making this title one of those very pleasant surprises that is out there. But since it’s big reveal of the Alpha Brothers (who aren’t really brothers) making their play for control of Saturn City, this title has been in a slight holding pattern as things start to fall into the forms that they are falling. The last issue, though complex, didn’t really do anything but play several different relationships. Unfortunately, the same thing occurs in this issue as well.
I can see where things are heading, which promises to be a spectacular showdown further down the road. But as for now, things just aren’t quite there. Simon Cooke, our successful businessman who used to be The Armored Saint, has decided to take to some dating again with one of his old adversaries who is a successful business person in her own right. A determined reporter is trying to get the goods on Mr. Cooke and some of his secrets. She is still hitting brick walls, but she is getting closer. Keenan Wade, a former sidekick of the Armored Saint has infiltrated The Breaks street gang and he is making progress to whatever plan he has in righting a Saturn City that has gone to Hell since the Saint’s retirement. And of course, we have The Old Man, still in control of the crime side of things, but seeing his power slipping. There is also some other stuff going on with one of Cooke’s business assistants who is trying to track down the murderous prostitutes that killed the president and CEO of a powerful Asian company that Cooke is trying to do business with. Finish up a bombshell at the end and you get a fill for the whole of this issue.
Everything here is just busy, real busy. Perhaps it was my recent head trauma, but I got a headache while reading this one. It is way too busy, feeling like Casey is trying to cram as much side story as possible to help get to whatever end game he has planned. Though there is all kinds of promise, I found the busyness of this issue to be a little off-putting.
Though busy on the writing side, Kowalski’s art was well done as he transitioned from the different characters and their interactions quite well. Despite the long writing, I never felt myself to be lost as Kowalski worked his renderings like a metronome keeping things at least within time.
Still though, it simply wasn’t enough to pull this issue out of mediocrity. It wasn’t the best writing, but it wasn’t the worst either. The nice thing that I have seen within this title though is that typically when things go down, they return to form quite quickly. I’m feeling a really good issue coming soon from these guys. At least I hope that is what is going to happen.
Writer: Joe Casey Artist: Piotr Kowalski Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 9/24/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital