Thursday, June 30, 2011

Parker: The Outfit

Darwyn Cooke

You'd think there wasn't room for improvement from the first book (Parker: The Hunter) but Darwyn Cooke manages to surpass himself in Parker's latest adventure. And by adventure I mean systematically destroying the Outfit because of revenge and money. Parker's favorite things.

The story is a bit convoluted but then again I don't like mob stories too much. Parker had plastic surgery since his last "adventure" and goes about recruiting people he can sort of trust, and hits on the Outfit. Stealing the money from the businesses and such. Parker gets what he wants, because he always does. He's Parker.

The art is stunning. Cooke is in top form. His grays and blacks complement each other beautifully creating a sinister mood that persists even if it's a sunny day and Parker is drinking beer with one of his recruits. It ramps up the suspense. The ink lines cut through Parker's new face in angles and planes making him look determined and cold. I must admit I miss his pretty boy looks from the first book and it took me a while to get used to it.

The highlight of the book is a long sequence where we read about the guys Parker hired casing and hitting on the Outfit's businesses. It's done in the style of various magazines of the sixties and it's a showstopper.

The book as an object is beautiful too, the pages are a creamy yellow which complements the cool grey-blue tones perfectly. You can tell this is Cooke's baby and we are lucky to share the experience.

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