Kane the Card Player
written and illustrated by Paul Grist
Another character and creator that's been around for a while that I've never read. I must say, I'm a big fan of his art. The line work is simple and clean, and very effective at telling the story.
Detective Kane is on the trail of the playing card burglar. Five burglaries have been reported, each leaving a playing card, it's value marking the crime. Only problem is, card number five of diamonds has yet to show up.
Kane knows more than he's letting on, and as the quick investigation continues, it's easy to see he's involved in much more as well. I'm very intrigued by the character. Add Kane to the list of books to pick up in the future. Grade B
Blood On My Hands
written and illustrated by Rick Gerry
Having never heard of the creator, I wasn't prepared to like this story. But this might have been the best surprise of the whole book. The unnamed main character has just lost his job. He's depressed and on prescription drugs which might be altering his thinking a bit. And he's pretty sure his wife is cheating on him. He does what they always do in stories like this, hires and investigator. And from there it goes exactly where you think it will, only it doesn't. I know that doesn't make sense, but once you read the story it will.
written by Ken Lizzi, illustrated by Joelle Jones
An illustrated prose piece? This entry through me for a loop. With every other story being sequential art, I was unsure as to why this piece was added.
Perhaps because it was a damn good, well written story? It's got all the trappings. Innocent man thrown into an unbelievable situation, the damsel in distress who is more trouble than she is worth, and of course, the drug dealer. Who is going to play who? It's got enough twists and turns to make the story move along, and Lizzi does have a way with words. The prose crackles with energy, and the illustrations are nice. I just want a few more.
The New Me
written by Gary Phillips, illustrated by Eduardo Barreto
Sadly, this is the one story I couldn't find artwork for online. That's a shame. Baretto's skills are perfect for this genre, especially this story.
Chad Reynolds is a personal trainer at Susan's gym. Supposedly he's the best. He's also a ladies man, at least ladies that don't look like Susan. But she's trying hard to lose that weight. Before long, she has his attention. He might wish he'd left this one alone.
I saw the ending coming a mile away, but the story was still worth it. Grade B
written and illustrated by the Fillbach Brothers
Finally, a story with a cowboy, something usually not found in this type of tale. The girl is bored with her life, and bored with Franz. She's ready to move on, and this tall drink of water just might be the guy to carry her off on his white horse. Not much actually happens in this story, but it's still worth a read.
Criminal: 21st Century Noir
written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Sean Phillips
This story might as well have been titled "Why Dan bought this book." I wasn't going to miss out on a Criminal story. And believe it or not, this might have actually been more hardcore than any of the stories in the ICON series. If you are following those issues, you need to read this. Grade A+
The Bad Night
written by Brian Azzarello, art by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
I shouldn't have to convince you to read this story. Look at the creators. But how is this for a tease... this might be the best origin story of a modern character that we are all familiar with. The last page is worth the price of the book, and it's the perfect way to end the collection. Grade A+
The final word...this book is worth every penny of it's $12.95 price tag. It's not only a great crime anthology, its a great anthology period.