My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

KOBK_15A short new graphic novel by the duo of Brubaker and Phillips falls in the tracks of their well known Criminal series, it’s is indeed another short noir story. A wrong man meets a wrong woman. What makes it different is the combination of striking blue and yellow colors, more shameless and alluring than I would expect.

A brief easy read.

The Dead and the Dying. A Criminal edition by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Part three of the Criminal series is a beautiful three-part story told from three different angles.

Ed Brubaker's storytelling gets better by each part, it seems. Coward was ok, Lawless was good, and this one even better.

No point retelling the storyline here, though. Never saw a point in that.


Lawless. A Criminal edition by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Part two of the Criminal series is entertaining, like all of Brubaker's noir graphic novels. To me, they all have the feel and touch of Westlake, Chase, and the likes of them. Brubaker is one of their kin for sure.

In essence, I'm convinced that comic books are a great medium for crime fiction, something quite on par with the great black and white noir movies. Even the ones with color, like this one, not just Frank Miller's Sin City.

This particular chapter is as good as others – it lacks one thing only – a gory finale, with blood splattering everywhere, and everyone, good, bad, innocent and guilty, moving their bodies in a well rehearsed John-Woo-of-the-80s dance of bullets and brains. On the other hand, I'd say not all good crime books end in death and suffering. So, maybe not too bad for a change, huh.


Coward. A Criminal edition by Eb Brubaker and Sean Philips

A glossy two-book hardcover collection of all six Criminal volumes was the reason I decided to re-read volume one Coward again. Actually, on my second try it felt much better than when I first had read it. Actually, I would even say I quite liked it. Is it a consequence of volume six? Hmm, looks like I am getting older and dumber.

P.S. And now I quietly wait for the movie.


Fatale. Book Five: Curse the Demon by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

The last book of Fatale franchise. A decent read, though, I guess, I got tired of it a bit already – like TV shows, the series fatigue finally catches up with you.

Still, when they make a movie, I will be the first to watch it.




Fatale. Book Four: Pray for Rain by Ed Brubacker and Sean Phillips

As much as I was dissatisfied with Fatale Books 2 & 3, I am equally pleased with Book Four: Pray for Rain (collects volumes 15 to 19). The change is drastic – as if Brubacker was completely out of ideas for his past several volumes, and had to fill them with crap in order to fulfill the publishers desires – and, suddenly, he found, I dunno, his own Fatale that gave his the inspiration back.

To my mind, this story arc is equal to a good, hard to take your eyes off the screen slasher movie, when you sit and enjoy the rollercoster. Nice.

And after that, an unfortunate pause. While volumes 20 & 21 are already available and in my iPad, Fatale the series will end in this July, when volume 24 hits the shelves – and I guess, I will have to wait for that – as I never liked reading small 30-page long volumes separately, as I don't really get to enjoy the storyline this way. Okey. Let's see what July brings.


Fatale. Book Two: The Devil’s Business and Book Three: West of Hell by Ed Brubacker and Sean Phillips

The second book of Fatale (i.e. the story arc that contains volumes 6 to 10 of the comic series) was, sadly, quite inferior to the first. Still, I have to admit Brubaker and Phillips have a very unique style of their own, especially drawing wise.

Volumes 11 to 14 that followed were four short separate stories, not too full of value, I guess. I like the nazi one the most, if you ask me. They, as I later found out, were collected under the title Book Three: West of Hell.

Other than that, ummm, I would say, this is a huge comedown from the original first Fatale story arc. Sad.


The Last of the Innocent. A Criminal edition by Ed Brubacker and Sean Phillips

To think about it, comic books are a perfect medium for noir crime stories, all those Dashiell Hammetts, James Hadley Chases and what not. All the messy bloody stuff that I loved to read in my early teens (alongside no less trashy horror stories, thank you, Mr. Hitchcock) are now in full profondo rosso colors spashed against the pages of a comic book.

And whilst Ed Brubacker‘s and Sean PhillipsCriminal series is of no match to, say, the Parker trilogy (and I hope for more of that as well), still, I found this story quite an entertaining read.

So I need to get some more, I guess. Both Criminal and Fatale (also written by the same duo), perfect pulp fiction, mmmm.

P.S. Sad but true – I need to stop buying comic books through comiXology. Yeah, it’s easier, and cheaper, and faster, and it lasts forever (kinda), but – there’s always but – you don’t get the same feeling when you hold a volume in your hands. Back to crazy Russian customs and amazon deliveries, and help me god.


Fatale. Book one: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Finally, a gripping horror story on the back of very good drawings. Collects volumes 1 to 5 of Fatale. I keep on reading.