Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Killer: Volume 1 by Jacamon & Matz
While searching the New York Public Library’s website for Archaia Studios Press books, I came across The Killer. The book, translated from French and complied from single issues, is the tale of a contract killer, his progression from mediocre student to conscience-less murderer and his relationship with his fixer. From the beginning, the bespectacled killer spouts macho bullshit such as: “I got no time for other people’s problems. Everyone for himself, that’s the only way. You’ve got to take risks if you want to make it. And I don’t mean just get by. I mean live like a man, not like a pig or a cockroach.” Most of the thoughts we are given access to are similar rationalizations of his work, his lack of compassion and many border on philosophical—if your philosophy is being interpreted to you by a precocious, but unpopular 15 year-old.
The only women who appear in this book for more than a single panel are sex objects (or bodies). This lack of womanhood gives the story a simple quality that detracts from the writing, which tries to be so hardboiled. The art is fine, but just that.
The Killer offers up merely a sketch of the intelligent, literature quoting, but appetite-free killer without the spare beauty of a film like Le Samourai; I can never figure out why some artists find this archetype so beguiling when it is merely predictable and boring. I don’t think I’ll be looking for volume 2.