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Tuesday January 6, 2009 7:25 pm
Zack Anderson had the world as his oyster. He was a super-villain - when he saw something he wanted, he took it with no fear of the consequences, until he decided to testify against his old boss. Today Zack is keeping a low profile as an office worker lusting after the girl from accounting who thinks he’s a creep. Pills have taken away his superpowers and he is at the mercy of a parole officer that wants nothing more than to see him behind bars or killed. Zack wants to relive the glory days of his youth, and is willing to sacrifice his new life to do it. So begins the latest masterpiece from Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips.
The best way to describe this book is a cross between Sleeper and Criminal (Don’t worry that’s a good thing) street level science fiction told through a noir-ish first person point of view.
Brubaker’s writing perfectly captures the mind of a fallen super villain. And he does so by focusing on trivial things, like the stuck up girl from accounting. (Don’t worry Zack gets the girl in the most clever uses of a Santa costume I’ve ever seen) His characterization of Zack’s dilemma brings back the “if you only knew” magic of comics, only darker. You cheer when Zack embraces what he lost and you cringe when you realize what the consequences of his actions will be. It’s characterization like this that makes Ed Brubaker the best writer in comics.
Sean Phillips artwork is dark and gritty, complemented the colors of Val Staples to set the mood and tone of the story. As a matter of fact I would say that without Staples colors the tone of the book would be completely different. The use of reds during the intense opening is contrasted by the shades of purple employed when Zack gets the girl. If there is an unsung hero on this book it is the colorist.
While this book may be derivative of previous works by the creative team, that by no means diminishes the work. It’s what you expect, a good solid read. And as an added bonus you get a cool article about “The Shadow” that is only available in the monthly installments. Definitely worth your money.
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