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Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story [Hardcover]

Mat Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

24 Aug 2010
In the days after Hurricane Katrina, two men who fell through society's cracks travel to evacuate New Orleans to pull off the bank heist of a lifetime. Up against the clock and eluding armed competitors, the men find themselves in the middle of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in American history. All around them, the institutions that form the pillars of our society are falling apart. Surrounded by death and misery, the men face a moral challenge greater than any other obstacle they've had to overcome. Is it possible to beat the system, even when it lies in ruins? Can they save even one person--or themselves? Or will those institutions come crashing down right on top of them?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (24 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401221602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401221607
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 18.5 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Alternately funny and moving, but always focused on a very sharp but simple story... More than a couple of moments almost brought tears to my eyes. In the end the book is very optimistic, offering hope to those who choose to do the right thing."

"DARK RAIN manages to entertain and inform about the human condition -- it's a well-grounded look at the different ways humans react to situations. Simon Gane's art is a perfect accompaniment to Mat Johnson's tale."
-- Denver WESTWORD
Johnson's masterful tale of loss and redemption is a real treat. Read and savor it before some sharp Hollywood producer makes a movie out of this rich gumbo of characters whose humanity and dignity fuel their fight for survival. Gane's deceptively lithe art captures action and emotion with wit, grit and grace.

"After reading DARK RAIN, I can honestly say that Mat Johnson has become one of my favorite comics writers. INCOGNEGRO wowed me a couple of years ago, and DARK RAIN is equally impressive. ...Johnson draws both the good and bad of the post-Katrina landscape in his characters, while Simon Gane's pen and ink artwork enhances the story without ever overpowering it."
"A pretty ripping heist/caper story. . . . A really well-crafted story. This is a movie waiting to happen. . . Simon Gane's art captures both the majesty and little moments that a great director might." -UNDER THE RADAR

"Mat Johnson's unflinching, macabre sense of humor is perfectly in tune with New Orleans, and Simon Gane's eye for character and detail brings the region -- in all its glory and degradation -- to vivid life. Together, Johnson and Gane dredge up nightmarish memories of the dark days following Hurricane Katrina."
-- Josh Neufeld, writer/artist of the New York Times Bestseller A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
"DARK RAIN has the twists of The Treasure Of the Sierra Madre, the po --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, hard- hitting morality tale 27 Oct 2013
By Peter D
Dabny Arceneaux and Emmit Jack, wounded by life, meet in a bail hostel in Houston, Texas and plan to rob the corrupt Banque de Congo Square in New Orleans, just as Hurricane Katrina is hitting the city. But as well as battling with Katrina, they have to pit their wits against Colonel Driggs and his Dark Rain mercenary- security force, who have also set their sights on the bank. A comic book morality tale with a strong story, some great drawings and believable, hard- hitting dialogue.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Smart 19 Oct 2010
By Mel Odom - Published on Amazon.com
When most people refer to noir storytelling, they're usually referring to a specific time. The film style began in the German Expressionist movement in the 1940s but the stories were from the American crime pulps of the 1930s. The name "film noir" came from French critic Nino Frank when talking about Hollywood films. So, looking at the fragmented history, noir kind of came from everywhere. But it always focuses on crime, evil, and flawed protagonists that are not traditional heroes. People talk like noir is gone, just a period in time, but truthfully crime, evil, and flawed people exist everywhere today.

Dark Rain by Matt Johnson and Simone Gane is a classic noir story. Set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the graphic novel is true noir. The protagonists are men that have fallen and are driven by desperation to rob a bank in the flood city during the early days of the storm.

Dabny is an easy man to like because he's got a lot of problems and is trying to hang onto a sense of honor. He's an ex-soldier and still believes in doing the right thing. Unfortunately, doing the right thing all the time doesn't back the back child support he owes so he can see his little girl. He's an easy man to sympathize with. He's in a halfway house in Houston for criminal for taking bribes while working as a customs officer. While there, he meets Emmit, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.

Emmit was a bank employee in New Orleans where he was arrested for breaking into safe deposit boxes. Since the prisons in New Orleans are overflowing, he gets shipped to Huston and ends up bunking with Dabny. The way he tells the story, Emmit wasn't going to take any of the money or goods found in the safe deposit boxes. He just wanted to explore and find out what was there. According to him, much of the goods in those safe deposit boxes were put there by criminals.

The story expands, picking up the lives of a young pregnant woman and Flash, an obese man who he is only concerned about himself. These additional storylines help flesh out the horror that is taking place during the storm and gives the reader a look at the raw emotions coursing through the beleaguered city. I sometimes felt that the story was going too far astray from the crime plot, but Johnson does a good job tying it all back together neatly at the end.

Dabny and Emmit don't get along. Emmit needs Dabny's skills as a soldier and his connections to Dark Rain, a private security firm that is intentionally a reflection of the Blackwater mercenary force that was hired by the United States government to help aid with the rescue operations and control the looting that took place throughout New Orleans. Most readers will probably remember that Blackwater was accused of a number of horrendous allegations during that time.

In this story, Dark Rain is commanded by Colonel Driggs, and there's no doubt about the man's villainy. He is definitely the antagonist Dabny and Emmit have to fear most. As well as the raging storm sweeping through New Orleans.

The graphic novel takes a long time to get to the actual heist, but there is a lot going on. I'm undecided about how much of the story ended up being a deflection of the plot rather than an enhancement. Johnson shows a lot of the problems that when on during the hurricane and its aftermath, but that slows down the pace of the crime story. The story about the people and the horrors they suffered is well done, but sometimes it seems shuffled into the main crime plot. Crime novels surrounding a heist like this generally are lean and mean, staying close to the bone.

The ending turns out to be somewhat predictable and all the characters ended up pretty much where I thought they would. For the most part, I was really happy with the story and entertained throughout. Simone Gane's artwork complements the story and I liked the aqua tones that overlay the inks. There was no way the invading waters from the Gulf would have any hint of blue even before the storm, but using gray or sepia tones wouldn't have done the panels justice and would have made it all look the same.

Dark Rain overall is a good story with enjoyable and easily understood characters during a situation that most readers can easily envision due to all the media coverage at the time.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simple and bland! 10 May 2013
By S. Penrose - Published on Amazon.com
This Vertigo crime book was more social commentary than crime fiction. While, yes, there were criminals, they were mostly stereotypes amped up to the nth degree. Mat Johnson wanted to tell a story of the government involving hurricane Katrina and he did just that. However, the fictional story with it wasn't engrossing. The art was fine but the coloring was a bit off at times. Overall, the book just wasn't that interesting and had way too many conveniences.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An okay book, not a Vertigo book 25 Mar 2011
By remy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When I think of Vertigo titles. I think of stories that break the bounds of human thinking and emotion. While Dark Rain does have its good points. It doesn't fit the Vertigo line of gritty, interesting drama. It felt like I was reading a independent comic. The characters were seldom interesting and the story is a bit flat. While Katrina was a huge event for most of the book they were explaining it and dwelling on things that happened rather than creating an atmosphere which usually indwells in series like Preacher and Scalped. The gritty noir is nowhere to be found and I suggest skipping it and going towards a book like Scalped if that is what you want. The art is also not in keeping with the front cover and if you have a chance to look inside you will it's very cartoonish
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You feel you are in New Orleans after Katrina 6 Mar 2013
By George Hagenauer - Published on Amazon.com
Really enjoyed this noir thriller. Mat Johsnon places the thriller in New Orleans after /during the Katrina disaster. The book's characters (and there are a lot of them) are interesting and unlike many noir thrillers you care what happens to them. The setting is fleshed out in detail so you feel the chaos that was the city after the hurricane. Overall the best graphic novel out of the dozen or so I read in January. I recommend it as a good read.
#16 in my attempt to review every graphic novel i read in 2013
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super good! 11 Dec 2012
By Randy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great service all around, Item was just as they said it would be. Thanks a bunch! Would recommend to anyone.
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