Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Comics Wednesday Week 21 - Kickback

One of the highlights of the 2009 New York City Comicon was getting to meet the man who co-created V for Vendetta, David Lloyd.  Sadly, while lines for other, and I'm sorry, less talented creators, snaked endlessly around isles, Mr. Lloyd had but a few devoted people waiting for a chance to touch his incredibly talented hand.    I was one of those people, and thank goodness for others being idiots, because I had the time to chat with him as he sketched V for me. 
At the time, he had asked me if I'd read Kickback, which I had.  He actually thanked me for taking the time to read it, and urged me to spread the word.  Now, most of my friends that read comics have incredible taste, and this graphic novel was already on their radar.  So I'm sorry Mr. Lloyd, but up until today I've failed you.

So listen up everyone!  Have I got your attention?  Read Kickback.  What more encouragement do you need?  This is the co-creator of one of the best comic stories ever told.  And guess what, his art has just gotten better.

When you're a cop on the take in Franklin City, the only question you need to ask yourself is "How much can I make."

But that's only if you can bury the feelings of guilt that claw their way into your skull as you keep bowing your head to the crime lords.

And only if you can stand by and watch your buddies get cut down in the streets as the bond between gangs and gangbusters frays and splits and falls into bloody shreds all around you.

And only if you can ignore the recurring nightmares of powerlessness and terror that haunt your sleep.

If you can't do all that, then you might find yourself asking, "How much can I stand?"

Canelli is a good cop.  Sure, he's on the take, just like everyone else, but he actually gives a damn.  When a local drug lord, one who usually keeps his nose clean, ends up dead at a buy, Canelli asks the questions that his superiors don't want him to ask.  It's another dead drug kingpin.  Just be happy.

But Canelli is a haunted man.  His dreams don't let him sleep, and more importantly, don't let him remember a tragedy that befell him as a child.  As readers, Lloyd clues us in bit by bit, with strange drawings, and the constant mention of "airships" by his grandfather.  It's enough to never give anything away, but plenty to keep you interested.

We all know him to be a fantastic artist, and he certainly outdoes himself.  Each page is well drawn, and who knew the man could color?  The choice of tones is absolutely perfect for the story.  But back to the writing.   Lloyd's story is top notch.  While, it's certainly not an original premise, crooked cops have been around as long as men have pinned badges to their chest, but with Canelli, Lloyd makes the story rather personal.  He's driven by demons, and determined to bring the whole system down.  And though the "cop on a crusade" certainly propels the story, it's his acceptance of personal tragedy that makes the story so engaging.

I cannot recommend this book enough, and at only $12.95 for a dense 96 page hardcover, you have no reason not to listen to me.  Come on, I owe it to David Lloyd. 

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