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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Comic Review: The Killer Vol. 4: Unfair Competition

The Killer Vol. 4: Unfair Competition
Collected Edition Hardcover
Story by: Matz
Art by: Luc Jacamon
Format: 128 pages, full color, hardcover
List price: $19.95
Sale date: 17 July 2013


After his misadventures in Venezuela, our Killer retires to Mexico, but his Colombian cartel friend Mariano and the Cuban agent Katia are not far behind. Soon he finds himself drawn back into the great geopolitical game between Cuba, Venezuela, and the United States, with oil revenues and political independence at stake. Even when he finds himself in unusual territory as the shadow owner of an oil company developing Cuba’s off-shore deposits, the need for his usual skill-set is never far away. 

One of the big advantages graphic novels have over the conventional novel is--you guessed it--the pictures. Add a blatant visual component to the storytelling and a whole new dimension opens up. Such is the case when I looked at the first panel of Unfair Competition, a vibrant portrait of one bustling street in Mexico City. The buildings, the cars, the people, and even the faraway vistas all presented one page at a time in such mesmerizing detail, you'd swear you're looking at freeze frames from a high-end animated film.

Despite having not read the first three volumes of this series, Matz uses dialogue to give a keen sense of his protagonist, Asesino, a professional killer who is world weary yet reticent in his attempts to step away from the life. Teaming up with two associates, a plan is laid out to exploit Cuba's new oil resources, as well as gaining a foothold in Mexico, all with the grand guise of going legit. Big oil is hardly legit it turns out though (no surprise there), and Asesino finds himself wishing for a simpler life, but ultimately drawn back into what he does best.

If not for the absolutely breathtaking artwork in this book, I would have probably stopped reading. Because that's what I did more than anything with this graphic novel: read. The dialogue is astonishingly long and drawn out, and for a thriller about a criminal enterprise, that's about 90% of the book: guys sitting around in pretty places and talking.Had this been a straight-up novel, I would have had no problem at all with dialogue bubbles taking up half of each panel, but this is a graphic novel and the wondrous illustrations are crowded out by what felt like intrusive and incessant jaw-jacking. The silver lining to it is that the dialogue is not the least bit hokey or cliched. The characters do come through with what they say, but it would have been nice if they shut up once in a while and got some dirt under their fingernails.

I'd recommend the book for the eye-candy alone, but if you have an aversion to comic books that feel like novels, then you may want to skip this one.

3 1/2 sheep

Guest Reviewer: Gef Fox
Wag The Fox

1 comment:

  1. i actually do think i have an aversion to comics that feel like novels. i never thought about it before. i do like the mix sometimes if there are articles or some comic chapters and regular chapters but in general, i like my comics to feel like comics. i may wait to borrow this one.