Chris Brunner and Jason Latour are honest, brutally honest at times. So in my review I am going to honor them by being brutally honest. I’m not going to hold back, spare feelings or “suck up” cause these guys are my friends and I like them. I hope they appreciate the effort.
I feel like I have been waiting on the release of Loose Ends for a long, long time. Over the years they have slowly been releasing previews and teasers to help whet our appetites. As the actual release date drew near I was worried that the book wouldn’t live up to all the hype. Jason Latour, Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi have been working their butts off to make this the best comic that it can possibly be and I was genuinely concerned that I wasn’t going to like it when I finally read it. I think I dwelled on this thought more than I should have particularly because this was a hard book to track down. Not a lot of small shops can afford to take risks on books from smaller publishers, like 12 Gauge, so not too many took a chance on this book. Several of the shop owners told me that it is no longer available through the distributor, so I hope that more become available or that they do a second printing. I know quite a few shops out there are upset that they missed out on it the first go round.
Loose Ends has gotten a lot of positive reviews online and there are a lot of people out there who are interested in it now, and for good reason. Despite my worries, it didn’t disappoint. I have read it through several times and it just gets better and better with each reading. It is a beautiful book. Brunner’s art is amazingly and painfully detailed. You can see character’s reflection’s in mirrors and in bar signs. The time and effort that went into drawing individual, detailed and distinctive liquor bottles is mind melting. As I am reading through the issue a third or fourth time, I just noticed a new character, a fly. He is particularly buzzing around Kim, possibly symbolic of a silent narrator, the fly on the wall, or of the “barfly” nature of the characters themselves. It is that kind of attention to detail that makes this book so thought-provoking. Everything is intentional, from the placement to the word balloons to the panel sizes and the color choices. Renzi’s colors are fantastic. They are flashy and vibrant which makes the blacks and inks even more dark and sinister. The art is so detailed that it can occasionally be distracting. There is a lot going on and so much information to keep up with that it can make you lose focus. You always know where every character is, at all times. After multiple readings that distraction was diminished for me and I was able to better enjoy the story.
Latour’s writing and storytelling are particularly strong in this book. It feels fresh and innovative. I liked the turn at the end. I may not be happy with it, but I am glad that this book isn’t formulaic and predictable. I like that I don’t know what is going to happen next. I like that this is more than a “drug-deal-gone-wrong.” Originally the dialogue felt clunky, but after several readings and picking up on each character’s vernacular it feels more natural. It isn’t typical comic’s dialogue (Editor’s Note: People do talk like that). Each character has his or her own voice instead of the writer imposing a voice upon each of them. I can’t wait to read the complete story all in one sitting. I enjoyed the pacing but I think it will be better read as a whole and not as a single issues.
So to sum up, the art and writing are so good that it sometimes takes away from the overall enjoyment of the book itself. If you can’t get your hands on issue #1 from your local comic shop Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is selling two different covers of #1 along with an incentive print over at their website. It is $20, but definitely worth it. That print sure is purty.