Publisher: Planet Jimbot
Writer: Jim Alexander
Artist: Aaron Murphy w/Chris Twydell
Production/Lettering: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Luke Cooper
Release Date: End of January 2015
The latest instalment of Jim Alexander’s award-winning GoodCopBadCop provides a noticeable departure from the established format of the series. Rather than the anthology approach of the previous Casebooks, where different artists would apply their distinctive styles to short stories featuring Glasgow-based Detective Inspector Brian Fisher, this is one story with one artist, and feels a lot more focused and structured as a result.
The artist in question is relative newcomer Aaron Murphy, who – based on his efforts here – is definitely going to be one to watch in the very near future (assuming he isn’t already). Murphy’s crisp linework and softly shaded black and white panels give the book a truly striking aesthetic, and his characters are filled with emotion and expression, particularly during the slower-paced ‘talky’ sections.
It’s also great to see Luke Cooper – an artist who first came to my attention as part of the Planet Jimbot stable of creators – make a return, albeit only on cover duty. His style perhaps more than any other helped solidify Brian Fisher as a character, and his eye-catching recreation of the villain of this latest story is truly chilling.
Actually, I should probably clarify my earlier point; this isn’t an entire self-contained story, but rather the first chapter of a multi-part tale that drags us right back into the violent, twisted hell of the Glasgow underworld. The story sees a brutally calculated attack carried out on the police by the mysterious ‘Horse Peter’, a grim figure from Fisher’s past who by all accounts should not still be around to prowl the streets of the city. Fisher’s investigation into Peter sees him revisiting his own troubled history, and features several intriguing conversations, all carried out with Alexander’s trademark gift for scintillating dialogue.
There’s a little less of the dry humour which went hand in hand with the previous releases here, and that’s perhaps a good thing given the nature of this particular story. The locations all feel authentic and immersive, and Alexander has a lot of fun with the subtle nuances of Fisher’s character as he interacts with a wide variety of people during the course of his investigation. Interestingly, the “bad cop” side of his personality doesn’t really manifest itself here, aside from a brief, troubling look into his past, providing an impressive sense of anticipation for the moment when he finally does ‘cut loose’.
This is a series I’ve been singing the praises of for quite some time, and I’ll be honest, this may be my favourite chapter yet. There’s something about the focus on a single story that really enhances the sense of immersion into the characters, and Alexander and Murphy form a truly impressive creative partnership as they weave their dark, violent, Glasgow-noir tale. Highest of recommendations once again for this one then, and let’s see Fisher really shake off the shackles next time out, eh?
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