on 28 December 2013
"Parker: Slayground" by Darwyn Cooke is fourth installment of comic book adaptation of Parker titles made by Stark and Westlake, a sequel that brings an interesting story, but of somewhat lower quality than the rest of the series.
For those who have read the previous sequels, somewhat surprising will be noticeably shorter length of this comic, though it' not so much so in its length, but the story is somewhat "thinner" in comparison to other works.
The story begins when Parker together with Grofield and another unfamiliar man will rob a car full of money during the winter. And because new guy who drives will be nervous, they'll crash their car and this new guy will die. While Grofield will be seriously injured, Parker will hear police sirens approaching and with the money he'll run away and hide in a closed amusement park.
Except that he needs to hide and set many traps for those who persecute him to stay alive, he will also become a witness to deal been made between the mafia and corrupt cops who all want to take care of him...
Although the comic book cannot be complained about its pace and excitement, the other titles from the series (The Hunter, The Outfit and The Score) included a lot more complex stories, while in last sequel reader can find the classic scenario where all others are hunting the main character.
The image is bit repaired by two nice included add-ons - the first one is a short story, named "The Seventh", that for its theme has Parker who is catching a guy who stole money from him; the other is fold-out map of the amusement park where Parker got stuck in this sequel.
Overall, the recommendations for "Slayground" go primarily to fans of series who want to read/see everything that was released on the Parker theme, while for all others who haven't read the other sequels I definitely recommend to firstly do that.
Parker, Grofield and one other guy rob an armoured car in the middle of winter and drive off with the cash. However the new guy is a bit of a nervous driver and winds up crashing the car on the ice, killing himself and badly injuring Grofield. Parker, hearing police in the distance, grabs the loot and makes a run for it, hiding out in a nearby amusement park that's closed for the season. And then realises that some crooked cops accepting a payoff from the mob have witnessed his escape into the park and, listening to dispatch, put two and two together and decide to go in there, kill Parker, and keep the cash for themselves. Parker must set as many deathtraps in the park as he can to escape with his life.
This is the fourth comic book adaptation Darwyn Cooke has done of Richard Stark/Donald Westlake's Parker books and the first where I was a bit bored reading it. The other books - The Hunter, The Outfit, The Score - all had complex plots involving multiple stages and double-crosses, and so on, whereas Slayground has a very basic premise of a cat and mouse that never goes beyond that. Parker sets deathtraps, mobsters/crooked cops wander into the traps, we move on to the next one, repeat.
This is fine if you want to read a book like that and I feel like I should like this more seeing as this book really made me realise Parker is basically Frank Castle, and I love the Punisher - Slayground has the flavour of the best kind of Punisher stories where Frank's up against the odds and has to MacGyver his way out. I think partly why I wasn't as enamoured was because I read the original Slayground novel a few months ago so I knew what to expect going in. To be fair, this is both a very faithful adaptation of the source material and also works better as a comic than a novel - Stark's laborious descriptions of Parker setting traps are replaced by Cooke's silent panels as Parker swiftly sets a trap in a few panels, then moves on to the next, and so on; we get past the chaff and to the action a lot faster.
But the predictability of it as everything goes right and Parker defeats the bad guys and the repetitive nature of the story as one person stumbles into a trap after another made for a fairly shallow read. There's no sense that Parker's in any real danger that he can't handle and Cooke's faithfulness to the source material only shows up Stark's minimal story.
Cooke's `60s-styled art remains as superb as ever and he knows where to put the camera, so to speak, so we get some dynamic angles, great use of shadow and light, and a strong sense of motion when we need it.
Also included is a short story, The Seventh, which has Parker pursuing a thief who's stolen money/double-crossed him as he chases him onto a construction site. Again, it's very predictable storytelling and feels rote and one-dimensional.
I usually enjoy Cooke's Parker adaptations and while I didn't hate Slayground, I also didn't love it and found myself pushing through it to get it over with rather than savouring the experience. Slayground is ok but Cooke's other Parker books are much better.
on 3 April 2014
This book is for the fans of the series, it hasn't got the same kind of Feel that the other books have. The Parker stories have always been rather straight forward but there is something desperately lacking from this one, for starters it's significantly shorter than the other books And the premise of the story is rather simple... Parker is chased through a theme park by gangsters and corrupt cop's. Nothing really new or exciting!
I know Cooke is just going off the source material and may be making some small changes to it, but in my opinion and I stress it is just an opinion. He should be allowed the freedom to edit the story how he sees fit, making it a very different experience to the original books. It would be exciting to read something a little different to the originals. I must admit that this is only a problem for those of us who have read any of starkings' books.
The artwork is as always with Cooke amazing, but I felt that with this story even his art couldn't maintain my interest! The book does contain a short story called the 7eventh and I have to say that this story is more interesting than the main one... You find yourself wishing it lasted another couple of pages.
Overall I think it's a good book and worth the £9 but not the best, hopefully it'll pick up with the next one!
on 20 February 2014
This is a shorter story that doesn't really delve into Parker's character, more a quick adventure with Parker in a dilapidated theme park that reminds you why you shouldn't mess with Parker. It's a similar message to earlier Parker stories that didn't get into his character, but with a bit less depth to the mayhem. The idea that Parker is this invincible mastermind has been reinforced enough for me. I was hoping for some more meat to this story.
However the art and format of this book is enjoyable as always with this series so I don't look on it too negatively.