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I Liked the Hand in the Lower Right Corner of the Cover: Jog with a 10/24 quick one

Joe McCulloch

Sometimes I read a comic, and I just feel like writing about it immediately. And what’s the internet good for if not instant gratification?

Foolkiller #1 (of 5): Well, this is a piece of work. While nominally a MAX revival of the Steve Gerber vigilante genre critique, it mostly reads like something that dropped out of an alternate dimension where EC’s crime and horror comics thrived and mutated into market-ruling decadence. It’s got a desperate crook narrator, a nasty sense of humor, and plenty of grotesque yet distinctly cheesy ironic fates in store for immoral souls. It’s dizzyingly lurid.

Nate McBride is a former NFL defensive lineman turned collections heavy for a diabolical online poker operation. He thought he could rip ’em off, but he wound up with his hand fed to a garbage disposal, his wife raped and murdered, and his younger daughter’s head twisted 180 degrees. His bedridden older daughter’s next, unless he comes up with a cool twenty grand… and the girl will die anyway if she doesn’t get a heart transplant in time!! What Nate needs now is the kind of man who’ll confront college rapists with a line like “You don’t bring a dick to a knife fight” before mutilating all of their genitals.

Writer Gregg Hurwitz is an admirer of Garth Ennis’ work on The Punisher, which actually bodes well for genre critique (with Ennis, the critique is the genre), but for now he mainly approaches things as if all Ennis’ book needs is even less restraint. Prepare for comparatively stiff dialogue, plus some clumsy location transitions and word-picture awkwardness typical of new-to-comics writers.

On the plus side, artist Lan Medina and colorist Andy Troy adopt an extra-rich visual style prone to pulp cover aplomb – that panel with the goons approaching Nate’s family is going to trash comics heaven when it dies. Fans of crime funnies mayhem will probably find it all dimly OKAY, but it could go south real quick.

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