- Posted by Johanna on February 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Eric Skillman; art by Jhomar Soriano
- PUBLISHER: Top Shelf Productions; $14.95 US
Nick Archer is a private eye, but not the old-fashioned noble kind you’re used to seeing in noir. He’s a slime, telling his rich client that the wife is faithful while in fact she’s fooling around with Nick himself. Then the client gets shot, and the wife is suspected. Nick is her alibi, but she wants him to prove someone else did it instead of revealing her infidelity, so she won’t risk losing his money.
The spare, spiky black-and-white line art is well-suited to the material. The chiaroscuro sets the expected mood for a secret-filled murder. The expression most often shown early on is boredom, especially on the part of the wife, although she calls it “fun”. They all know the stories, and everyone’s playing their assigned roles in this encounter. The reader will find it familiar, although not in a bad way, until the unexpected ending.
The dialogue fits right into the genre but doesn’t seem full of clichés or reused. It’s a fresh take on a familiar story type. Jhomar Soriano’s characters remind me of the cast of 100 Bullets as drawn by Eduardo Risso. Flashbacks are done in ink wash (as though painted in greytone), which gives them a substantial, realistic feel.
Every time someone thinks they’re being clever they wind up screwing themselves over, which is par for this kind of crime story, as things get twistier as events reveal themselves. I didn’t like these people at all, but I was immensely curious about what would happen to them, which kept me avidly turning pages. It’s a shame we get a little bit too much “crazy woman” as motivation for some of the characters, but I suppose it’s balanced out by “stupid men”. If the occasional overreaction had been toned down just a smidge, the emotional reactions would be even more plausible, and it would be an even stronger work. As it is, it’s enjoyable escapism that puts a fresh twist on the private eye yarn.
Liar’s Kiss is due out April 27. It can be ordered from comic shops with code FEB11 1167. Preview pages are available at the publisher’s website. (The publisher provided a digital preview copy.)