Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort

Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort cover

Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort is a welcome followup to Byrd of Paradise, the story that introduced island private eye Danny Byrd and his police officer friend Mo Kalama.

This time around, Byrd has been hired by Italian mobsters trying to open a resort hotel. They’ve been running into all kinds of glitches. They think it’s sabotage from their Irish competitors, but the locals say it’s sorcery, that the white men are getting what they deserve. And they might be right. Byrd’s saved from one tight situation by a ghost girl before he winds up becoming a bargaining chip between the two groups of gangsters as they feud and shoot.

This blend of crime and horror, written by B. Clay Moore, combines common elements of both — tough guys, violence, double-crosses, missing friends, lovely girls in bathing suits, and finally blundering into a solution — into a fast-paced adventure that makes the most of the Hawaiian setting and 1950s time period.

Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort cover

Steven Griffin’s art and color are stunning. He was justifiably nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Colorist three years in a row. Beautiful, sun-splashed scenery done in digital watercolor makes the reader want to visit the islands. The bad guys brood in rooms awash in deep ruby, creating an atmosphere of sickly menace. When Byrd’s hungover, there’s a subtle grey tint to his face and surroundings. The Irish offices are done in greens (of course), while Byrd’s neglected office is olive and brown. It’s color as mood, and it’s what makes this detective story so impressive.

Copious extras in the collected volume include promotional art, character designs, layout sketches (in sections labeled “good” and “not so good”, with commentary by the artist), and rude finger puppets. Overall, it’s a worthwhile entry in the escapist adventure/horror series with a gorgeously exotic setting.

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