Eric's 12 Gauge Comics Review: Loose Ends #1
Published: July 12, 2011 - 7:33am
Loose Ends #1
Bearing the subtitle “A 4 Issue Southern Crime Romance,” Loose Ends #1 shows the same qualities of the drawl inherent of its geographical dialect. There's an almost painstakingly deliberate approach to the narrative that will be a divisively deciding factor in one's enjoyment of this piece. Like the cigarettes inhaled by the protagonist, this is a slow burn. This adds to the great contrast in which action actually kicks in with a stunning amount of intensity only to stop with well planned abruptness. It's a good manipulation of tempo that benefits the whole.
Within that steady pace is a type of white trash noir, with mobile homes and worn out muscle cars supplanting the dimly lit offices characteristic of the genre. One might recognize some thematic elements of Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse homage Death Proof within the comic's pages as well. With this first issue, character and situation introductions are made subtly but coherently. The reader will have an idea of what's going on, but never what is going to happen. Given its seemingly lazy Summer day presentation, there are some layers and twists to the story waiting to be explored. Appropriately, this comic warrants diving into further depths in that slow moving river.
Chris Brunner's art captures the crushing humidity of the Southern apex of Summer quite well, which provides a glistening sweaty aesthetic to almost every panel. This isn't about a clean urban setting, but about the cramped nature of dive bars and trailer homes. Beyond perspiration, there is clutter found throughout this work. Each beer can on a floor board or poster on a wall gives a little bit of exposition that doesn't need to be covered within the text. This is the narrative power that comic art should have. While the script is slow, there's quite a bit going on in each page that provides much more value to the plot and its characters. Rico Renzi adds just the right tones of color to get across the many shades of neon as it reflects off of skin. Flashbacks take on a distinguishing monochromatic scale of varying pastels that evokes emotion. The eclectic nature of the American Southeast is brilliantly conveyed as desolate landscapes transition into highly populated cityscapes. The biggest testament to this creative team's talents is how it all blends.
Also of note is the Surgeon General's warning at the book's end. There's a lot of smoking going on and it's a slightly funny/ironic touch.
Story: Jason Latour
Art: Chris Brunner & Rico Renzi
Cover: Chris Brunner & Rico Renzi
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