've just read Lawless
, the second story arc of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal
series, and I found it a good deal less satisfying than the same pair's The Fade-Out
, which I have also read recently. Why is this the case?
1) Despite what Brubaker seems to think, it's not "... death didn't phase him
" and "Things that did, in fact, phase him
," but rather faze
. How does a mistake like that get past Brubaker, his editors, and the letterer?
' melodrama—and the story is full of family secrets and deus ex machina revelations—is a poor match with the emotionless killing machine that the protagonist is supposed to be. The occasional melodrama of The Fade-Out
was a much better fit for its story's setting in that mid-century melodrama factory, late-1940s Hollywood. Even the two examples of trite, overheated language I remember from The Fade-Out
might well be deliberate nods to the melodramatic Hollywood movies of the era that were later called film noir
Or maybe I give Brubaker too much credit. Maybe, for all his facility with fractured, non-linear narrative and evocative, morally dubious settings, he's just not a great prose stylist.
3) More to come if I can gather my thoughts about why Lawless
seems like an ungainly combination of melodrama, Parker-like heist story, and revenge tale. If I'm right that such a mix was Brubaker's intention, then the mix doesn't come together here.
© Peter Rozovsky 2016
Labels: comics, Criminal, Ed Brubaker, graphic novels, Sean Phillips, The Fade-Out