My dossier on Ed Brubaker
1) Brubaker works with some terrific artist/illustrators: Sean Phillips on The Fade Out and Criminal, Steve Epting on Velvet. Those guys get the stories' dark atmosphere down, and they know when an illustration should absorb the reader, and when it should retreat, literally, into the background.
2) Brubaker favors fractured, multiple-viewpoint narrative, and he uses it well.
3) Brubaker has a weakness for melodrama. The works beautifully in The Fade-Out and Velvet, less well in "Lawless," the second story arc in Criminal, where it's a bad fit with the story's emotionless-returning-veteran-bent-on-revenge protagonist. What's the point of dragging out a string on deus ex machina secrets if the protagonist will show no more reaction than burying his head in his hands, and that only once that I can recall?
4) That excess will occasionally find its way into dialogue or narration by female characters, in lines like "Do even see me at all?" — soap-opera stuff, and not in a good way.
5) Brubaker and his editors appear not to know the difference between phase and faze and to think that "I won't argue that..." means "I won't disagree..." *
(It appears that "argue"in the sense that Brubaker uses is, meaning "to disagree with," is not sanctioned by Merriam-Webster, which means that I'm right. But this week I found a third example of its use in that sense. One was from an American novel of the 1950s, which suggests the usage might be older or outmoded. That followed an example from the work of one of the worst writers I have ever come across in my professional life. This suggests the usage might be substandard. )
© Peter Rozovsky 2016