It’s good to be a film noir fan these days—that is, if you read comic books. There are a variety of indie comics to choose from and Ed Brubaker has turned the once obscure film genre into a tried and true go to for crime drama. I take a look at a new crime comic from Image Comics to figure out…is it good?
Dark Corridor #1 (Image Comics)
This issue opens on a man named Pete settling down with a cocktail for the night. A mysterious dog shows up and it’s covered in blood. Most people would leave the dog alone and ignore it, but Pete develops an affinity to the dog rather quickly. He’s also a hitman. He goes out and checks in with some folks who might know who the dog is so that he might kick their asses. The dog leads him to a crime however and from there we meet his friends, a mysterious woman and some crooked cops.
Later in the issue a second story takes place and focuses on a man who got shot on a motorcycle. It’s a bit jarring that things change so much, possibly because I wasn’t aware this would be a collection of stories, but there’s a nice surprise in this second story in how it ties into the first story. It’s also an interesting setup and helps set the stage as far as crooked cops and crooked doctors.
That’s pretty creepy.
If that doesn’t sound like a crime noir you’re crazy. This all comes from the mind of Rich Tommaso and there’s a lot to like here. The character of Peter and how he’s unveiled is interesting. Tommaso isn’t giving everything away right away but instead telling the story slowly enough so that we can figure things out and piece it together. Tommaso uses the dog to introduce us to Peter’s world, and while I did find the dog a bit of a convenient plot progressing device, it works, especially with how he closes the story with the dog. I don’t want to give it away, but it creates a new mystery that I’ll be coming back for next month.
If looks could kill.
I also enjoy how Tammaso makes these characters so average and ordinary. You read this and think, “these are real people. Dear god my neighbor could be a hitman!” In fact many of these characters seem really bored. Like stealing a bunch of jewelry and guns isn’t a big deal. It goes a long way in giving the book a tone that’s realistic and at the same time seedy.
I did find that the complacency of the characters made the book feel a bit boring. It lumbers along at a slow pace which makes the book less than exciting. There’s never any urgency to the characters or the pace in the first story. The second story has a much quicker pace, but the characters aren’t as believable. The doctor for instance, keeps telling the dying man to tell his story, which doesn’t seem right at all. I guess he’s just another evil jerk like the rest? The cops are also a bit too evil for their own good, like cliched cops in a movie. All those things aside though, the overall read is an enjoyable one.
Most people would be freaked out by this.
And then there’s the art, also by Tommaso which is very indie in its look and feel. There’s a retro nature to it that’s fun and reminds me of pop art. Colors tend to shift depending on the scene which is a nice way of shifting the mood too. Scale and scope are always changing in scenes, which help tell the story in a very clean way. There’s no doubt the slower building story is on purpose and you can see that right there in the layouts.
That’s pretty creepy.
Is It Good?
I was a skeptic going into this comic, but its slow and effective storytelling sucked me right in. I’m looking forward to the next issue and can’t wait to see how new stories are woven in and introduced.