Written by: David Lapham
Art by: Leonardo Manco
Created by: Michael and John Schwarz
Executive producer: Sam Worthington
Published by: Radical Publishing
If there is 1 rule in comic book mini-series, it’s that the penultimate issue has to be mind-blowing! It has to raise the stakes to such a level that the user is dying for the final issue to see how the 3rd act plays out and resolves- if it was a movie, it’d be the part you wouldn’t DREAM of leaving your seat for nervous as you may be that you might wet yourself.
Lapham and Manco do not disappoint!
Up to this point, the turns in the narrative have been fairly standard, keeping (as I mentioned in my previous review) to The Punisher model, the vigilante has done what you want him top do- kill gangsters! The cop brother has done what you want him to do- feel conflicted but keep on the right side of the law………….until this issue! This issue changes the layout, the game and fills the story with so many shades of colour that you’re not even remotely sure who you’re meant to be rooting for or who you want to root for, all you know is that you’re regretting that 320z coke and hoping your bladder holds until the final credits!
Both writer and artist are on top form for this issue, with Manco’s detail, layout and action becoming more and more sublime as Lapham does an amazing job of building the tension slowly throughout the issue until it comes to a boil by the time you see the final chilling image of the last page which you presume sets the tone, stakes and level of action of the final issue.
I gushed in a previous review about a comic and apologized but I must apologise again because this is just a Great Comic! Lapham is writing what he writes best with a crime/gang style story and Manco hits all the right buttons visually with Lapham knowing when to step back and let the image on the page carry the story. Manco’s composition’s aren’t overstated and exaggerated and he plays with his layouts beautifully, keeping to tight paneling when tension is being built and then throwing it all out the window when the action is let loose and he can create intense, gritty scenes which would be hard to deliver in any other medium.
If I haven’t sold you on this comic, yet, I don’t think I could by now but if you like a well constructed, well paced down and dirty story with some great play in the narrative then this is for you. I’m dying to see how it ends in issue #6 and look forward to getting the trade of this so as I can read it as one 3 act story.