The Man WIth The Getaway Face
- Published on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 15:48
- Written by Rokk
The Man with the Getaway Face is the prelude to the new Parker graphic novel entitled The Outfit. I am sure that everyone knows Darwyn Cooke. However, Parker is not a franchise that is probably recognizable to the vast majority of comic book readers.
Donald Westlake was a crime novelist who had quite a long career. Westlake wrote under various pen names during his career. Richard Stark was a pen name that Westlake first assumed in 1959. Under the pen name Stark, from 1962-1974, Westlake wrote sixteen novels about a professional thief named Parker.
Cooke is a huge fan of Stark’s Parker novels and has decided to adapt the Parker novels into comic book format. This effort is being done under the IDW banner. The first adaptation was Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter. It was a hardcover graphic novel and was an absolutely fantastic read. All right, now that the history lesson is done let's do ahead and do this review for The Man With The Getaway Face.
Writers: Donald Westlake and Darwyn Cooke
Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Ian Herring
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Needless to say, I have been looking forward to this prelude to the new graphic novel, The Outfit. There were three features about The Man with the Getaway Face which immediately set it apart from every other comic book coming out last week. First, The Man with the Getaway Face is made from high quality bond paper. Second, this issue is the same size as an Absolute Edition graphic novel. It is huge! Third, the price for The Man with the Getaway Face is only $2.00!
The oversized format, quality of paper and low cover price immediately made The Man with the Getaway Face the best buy of the week. This is certainly the most bang for your buck. However, it would not have meant anything if the story and art were poor. That is most assuredly not the case with this issue.
Once again, Cooke does a fantastic job bringing the adventures of Parker to life. Cooke remains faithful to the source material, but still puts his own unique stamp on the final product. This issue presents to the reader a quality of writing and artwork that is not found in many of the comic books currently being published.
The dialogue is excellent. Cooke serves up some snappy banter that has a wonderful flow. The banter entertains the reader at the same time that it also progresses the story and gives the reader a bit more insight into each character’s personality. This is certainly not the case where the reader is flooded with snappy banter that borders on nonsensical and serves no productive role to the story itself.
Cooke displays a deft hand at blending prose with traditional comic book word balloons. There are certain writers who attempt this and fail. Cooke knows how to pull this technique off without drowning the reader in a wall of unending and dull text.
The character work is spot on. All of the characters are quite colorful. Cooke is able to define the personalities of each character in just a few panels. It is much harder to pull off such character work in such a concise manner. Cooke is able to get across to the reader a better sense of each character in just one issue than some writers can over the course of a long story arc.
The story is well paced. It certainly is not fast paced. Instead, Cooke finds the perfect tempo and manages that pace perfectly throughout this issue. There are no frantic fight scenes. Instead, the strong character work and the waiting for the impending betrayal during the heist are what makes this issue such a gripping read.
The Man with the Getaway Face is strongly plotted. Cooke never gets sidetracked or meanders about wasting the reader’s time. Cooke kicks the story off in a clear direction and keeps it moving forward with a purpose until the end.
This issue presents the reader with some nice condensed story telling. Even though this issue is billed as a prelude, it is really one of Westlake’s novel condensed down to its bare essentials in order to serve a bridge between The Hunter and The Outfit. Cooke delivers to the reader a robust and full one and done story with this issue.
I absolutely adore Parker. He is such a remorseless bastard. Parker is a raw and blunt throwback to an era decidedly less PC than our current society. Despite Parker’s many flaws and ugly behavior, he is a character that immediately attracts and fascinates the reader.
To be sure, The Man with the Getaway Face is not a story for more delicate readers. As I said before, Cooke is faithful to Westlake’s source material. Cooke makes no efforts to tweak Westlake’s story to make it more PC for the modern reader. If you are easily offended then I would recommend that you pass on this title. The Man with the Getaway Face is an unfiltered and visceral story.
Cooke’s artwork is simply gorgeous. It is unlike anything else you will find in the comic book industry. Cooke’s use of positive and negative space is impressive. I love Cooke’s shading technique. With a few simple lines Cooke is able to invoke more energy and emotion than most artists can in fully rendered and detailed artwork.
I also appreciate Cooke’s attention to detail. When Cooke draws a Corvette, you can be sure that it is going to look just like an early 1960’s model Stingray. Cooke also does a fantastic job capturing the early 1960’s architecture.
I love Cooke’s layouts. Cooke employs some extremely creative panel layouts in this issue. This helps make this issue that much more of an enjoyable read. In fact, there are some pages where the page itself is the panel. I like the fact that Cooke uses his shading to define the borders of the panels rather than actually employing box panels with lines.
To quote Cooke in his Introduction to The Man with the Getaway Face:
“It’s our hope that this will pull you into the violent world of Parker.”
That is my hope as well. This is an excellent issue that deserves your support. Run out to your local comic book shop now and demand your own copy of The Man with the Getaway Face!