There have been some stellar crime comics over the years, from 100 Bullets to Dream Thief, realistic to a tinge of the fantastical. They’re all similar in their ability to capture the corruptible human being. Usually it only takes some cash to squeeze the evil out of people, but to see the lengths they’ll go for it is the interesting part. Dark Horse has a new crime comic out this week about a group of white-suited killers. Is it good?
The White Suits #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Everyone will be talking about the art when it comes to this series, no offense to writer Frank Barbiere, but it’s so incredibly different from what has come before it you won’t be able to help it. Artist Toby Cypress uses scant colors—really just red—lots of sketchy styles, and plenty of ben-day dots. The guy doesn’t just use these dots for shading though, but randomly over the edges of images to convey…chaos? I’m not sure what, but it’s striking enough to force the reader to oggle a page much longer than if it was conventional pencils and color.
Check out the red circles, which convey a lens flare look.
In a lot of ways this story is similar to 100 Bullets, from the team of killers to the brutality of the violence. If you’re not familiar with that series then imagine this as a Quentin Tarantino flick with a lot less dialogue and a lot more cinematography. The story is a simple one, or simple enough at this point as we follow a protagonist who can’t recall his past—a past of killing and murdering indiscriminately. He was part of the White Suits, who are shown to not be on any one side; in fact one of them murders innocent folks for no reason at all beyond his own pleasure. A big portion of this book is the White Suits killing a bunch of gang bangers, why I’m not sure, but it probably has something to do with a super crime syndicate. There isn’t a lot here to chew on, largely because the mystery of the protagonist, the White Suits, and the mob bosses aren’t given much of a chance. Frank Barbiere is keeping his cards close to the chest, which is doable when the art is so different like it is here, but you won’t feel much satisfaction if you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into.
Cypress’ style reminds me a lot of Mike Huddleston’s work on Butcher Baker, The Righeous Maker. It’s sketchy, it mixes all sorts of techniques in a single panel and never ceases to surprise. There are panels that read more like a mess than a progression of story, and while that’s probably what he’s going for, it just doesn’t do much in the storytelling department. In a sense, due to the chaos of these pages, I get the sense Cypress has free rein to do whatever, which gives the book a collage feel that’s more unhinged for the sake of being unhinged rather than serving the story.
Cool use of color in the shot glass.
Is It Good?
This is a tough one, because there are some incredible visuals and a lot of potential with the story. Unfortunately the story we’re given, as far as this first issue, reads unoriginally and uninspired. I’d give this a two issue chance, but at this rate it’s not looking so good.