Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: David Lapham
Release Date: 15th April, 2015
One of things I love about this series is how each issue is essentially a self-contained story, but one that has wider implications for the fascinating noirish world David Lapham has created. Seriously, try it! Pick up and read any issue, and you’ll get a beginning, middle and end, but I guarantee you’ll be intrigued as to the who, what, why, and where of each character.
The common denominator of the first three issues has been Beth, a strong, street-smart femme fatale whose allure extends to men on all points of the moral compass. The new man in her life, Orson, is infatuated with her and as a result is being drawn deeper in the murky Baltimore underworld. He’s been pretty lucky thus far, but rather than learn his lesson and go back to his regular Joe existence, his desire to prove himself has only grown stronger. In this issue, the pair attempt to raise the ten grand Beth owes to local gangster, Dez, by robbing his home under the guise of a phoney crew named ‘The Sunshine Gang’.
Lapham’s compelling narrative draws you in right from the first few panels, through a combination of raw, incisive dialogue and subtle character focussed artwork. From there he maintains an impeccable pace using a standard layout, choosing larger panels sparingly for maximum impact. There is a palpable tension between Beth and Orson, and the complexities of their blossoming relationship are expertly conveyed through nuanced character expressions, body language, and panel composition.
Beth in particular intrigues me, as I’m not quite sure if there is some form of manipulation by proxy going on. Much like Clarence Worley from True Romance, Orson is naïve and doesn’t yet have enough experience of the city’s darker underbelly to be scared. As such, he is malleable and easy to inspire to action. Although he is making the decisions, only Beth is benefitting from his endeavours thus far, and I’m keen to see how their relationship plays out.
So what are you waiting for? With each new book providing a prefect jumping on point, there’s really no excuse to overlook this thoroughly engrossing crime series from a creator at the top of his game.