Swerve won’t appeal to everyone, but a particular segment of the audience will eat it up. It’s a crime story, about a guy who gets caught up in drugs and money laundering, set against the unique background of professional wrestling.

In 1970s San Antonio, former NFL footballer Eric Layton is joining the pro wrestling circuit to make cash fast after he blew out his knee and ended his respectable sports career. He quickly discovers just how dirty this particular promoter is, with drugs and porn, lady wrestlers who moonlight as hookers, and all kinds of violence and abuse, rape and murder.

I know a little about pro wrestling — it’s not surprising to note that there’s a significant overlap between their fans and superhero comic fandom — and I thought the book was both true to the seamier underbelly of sports entertainment and what we expect from a modern noir. The art is gritty and murky, well-suited to the subject matter, and much more accomplished than I’m used to seeing in books like this, with plenty of good detail.

Readers have everything they need to know through dialogue that sounds right for the characters (not exposition-heavy for its own sake). There’s a lot of flavor of the times, of the industry, of the criminals. As the double-crosses continued, I was caught up in the events as they spiraled out of control — and they weren’t in that great a shape to start with.

Swerve can be ordered now from your local comic shop with Diamond Previews code DEC12 0813. If you’re interested in crime comics focusing on the underbelly of society, you should check it out. The first three issues were released digitally before this collection, in case you want a cheap sample. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)

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