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Bringing the fight to the mob
on 27 April 2013
This is the second of Darwyn Cooke's comic book adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker novels with this one using material from the novels "The Outfit" and "The Man with the Getaway Face". After Parker walks off with a hefty chunk of change from the Outfit (a crime syndicate) at the end of the first book The Hunter, a price is put on his head as Parker heads south to enjoy his earnings in the lap of luxury. But even after altering his face with plastic surgery, he's spotted and the Outfit are alerted to his location, Parker decides to gather his criminal friends and bring the fight to the Outfit's boss.
Parker is easily Richard Stark/Donald Westlake's greatest creation. He is an unstoppable, super-efficient career criminal who plans his heists meticulously, selects the most useful members for his team, and has no compunction with killing - but only with no other choice left to him. Parker almost seems like a robot at times - he regards emotion as weakness, and looks upon any kind of extravagance as wasteful, an element that will end the person and send them to jail. And yet he's strangely likeable - or if not that, then fascinating to read as he pulls off daring heists so coolly.
Cooke incorporates different artistic styles to tell the stories of each of Parker's gang hitting the Outfit in different ways even including prose from the source novel to tell certain parts of the story. The styles change the pace of the book, slowing it down while the action ramps up so you've got time to enjoy what happens at just the right speed. It's a great balance.
Cooke's done Richard Stark/Donald Westlake proud by doing such a fantastic job in telling the tale of one of Parker's best adventures with style and panache that only someone as experienced and masterful a comics artist as Cooke could do. It's a great crime caper comic that's terrific fun to read. More, please!