Film noir isn’t appreciated enough in today’s society, but maybe that’s because nobody really knows what film noir is. From Double Indemnity to Alien, the style can be very different but there are certain tropes required to make it in the genre. Essentially it’s a combination of European cynicism and post-war American angst, but you can instill that into anything.
Of course Z2 Comics’ series is set in Paris so it’s got that going for it, but is it good?
Carver: A Paris Story #2 (Z2 Comics)
In the first issue the villain narrated our way into the story. He wore a white mask and looked evil in a Red Skull kind of way. He had kidnapped a little girl. Meanwhile a man named Carver, a James Bond sort of hero was attacked on the streets of Paris and he easily took care of them.This issue opens with a man appearing to be a stranger asking another man if his friend is Carver. Apparently he has made a name for himself where strangers can recognize you. But is he really a stranger?
Why does this book matter?
There’s a mystery afoot here, but also a very bad man with power pulling the strings. The story appears to be simple, but it’s anything but. If you’re into unraveling a story and riding that wave this is for you.
Is he hot?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There is unconventional storytelling in this issue which is exciting to say the least because it’s rife with surprises. The story opens on a quiet street corner, but takes us to a battlefield, a touching moment between lovers and finally a cliffhanger that’ll make you want issue #3 yesterday. Chris Hunt writes and draws a solid issue that takes its time with its storytelling. This allows you to ease into the scene and have it all matter just a little bit more. I can’t remember the last time I read a scene between a man and a woman and felt so much history between them. This is because of panels lingering on hands touching and eyes asking the questions to name two examples.
Carver: A Paris Story #2 is a quieter issue, but there is some action and a big promise for a lot more in the next issue. Essentially this is a calm before the storm sort of issue which means there’s a lot of buildup in the proverbial kettle that is set to explode soon enough.
The art suits the dark nature of this noir story too. The characters are mysterious as they speak and think in this issue due to the strong work with facial expressions. The flashback sequence is dark, with an interesting segue — a black panel shows dialogue of the previous scene almost blowing or being rubbed away which then transitions back to the heart wrenching conversation via black streaked pages and a haunting skull. These pages go a long way in telling us a story of guilt and sorrow.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There will be people out there who find it slow, but they’re missing the point of building a relationship that’s meaningful before a threat takes hold. I will say the opening scene does run on too long. It sets up the notoriety of Carver and discusses the absurdity of murder as something that should be hailed, but it takes what feels like much too long to do it. It makes the entire read feel slightly uneven.
I was also a bit confused by the art when it came to the tears and sweat. Carver and his female companion sit emotionally frozen, but there are lines that I wasn’t sure where sweat or tears. They’re subtle, but this changed the way I perceived their emotions and I wasn’t sure what to make of it.
Is It Good?
This is solid storytelling that takes its time and is all the more powerful for it. The only shame (or is it a crime?) is that the third issue isn’t already here.