There is an artist whose work is seeped in color. Whose lines look sharp enough to slice open your fingertips as you flip through pages adorned in his forms. A man who brings madness to life with a pen and various layers of ink and computer wizardry. Ben Templesmith, the almighty Squid King. Any writer lucky enough to team up with this builder of churches is in good hands. I point you to Steve Niles, Warren Ellis, and Ben McCool, just to name a few. Well, add another writer to this list, by the name of J. Michael Straczynski.
Enough wankery, let’s discuss why Ten Grand is so fucking awesome.
Ten Grand #1 (Image)
We follow Joe Fitzgerald, a former enforcer for the mob. Joe along with his love Laura, were killed by what appears to be a demon/man he was hired to take out. This demon/man was to be his last job. He is offered a deal by an angel as he is about to descend into Hell after death. If he works for the angel, he can die, and keep coming back to do the bidding of the angel. But, after he dies, he gets to spend five minutes with his dead love, Laura. Once he has evened out his cosmic score, so to speak, the angel promises he can die and avoid the pit.
In the present, Joe is hired by a girl to look into a group known as Divine Will, which has a leader Joe recognizes from his past. A man he thought he’d killed. Of course, for his services, this girl pays Joe ten grand. Hey that’s the name of the comic.
The pacing is dreamlike, but purposeful. Quite a mystery unfolds in issue 1 through the use of a nonlinear narrative. Straczynski executes the beats masterfully, crafting a fish hook of a tale that gets you by the inside of the cheek in no time.
Reminiscent of John Constantine or Cal McDonald, Joe Fitzgerald deals with magic and the supernatural in a gritty, urban locale, as if he were running errands. It makes the story all the more engaging that the outlandish bits are dealt with in a matter of fact, “yes this is happening, so what?” kind of a way.
What is there to say about Templesmith’s art in this issue? As always, it has beautiful coloring in the background, and the creepy shit is pound-for-pound the creepiest to be found. Picture if Ralph Steadman decided to draw for comics, and was slightly less abstract. That’s Ben Templesmith’s panels, folks. Demons, fire, blood, strippers, angels, snazzy suits. All typical trappings of Templesmith work, and expertly performed, yet again.
- Unique art
- Great pacing
- Mystery sucks you in
- Not 100 pages
Is It Good?
Dude. Yes. Go read it. Now. For those lamenting the loss of Hellblazer, don’t worry. This has a remarkably similar tone and has unique, brooding dark art to boost. Like a knife to the throat, and a whisper in the dark. Thanks Image, and Joe’s Comics. You’ve given us a rarity. A perfect comic.