Breakneck TPB Review
I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t read everything. There are weeks where there’s too much that I want to read. Then there are weeks like we’ve had lately. There are days that I want to write about new comics, but nothing has struck my fancy. I also have a standing policy of not intentionally writing a bad review of a comic, unless the press is just so overwhelming that I have to review it.
Most of the stuff from Titan Comics doesn’t fall into the category of needing to review because the press is overwhelming.
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Simone Guglielmini
Publisher: Titan Comics
Imprint: Hard Case Crime
Softcover, 128pp, $16.99
During an angry confrontation at two-bit motel, Joe Hayward is thrown headfirst into the middle of a frightening terrorist plot to bring Philadelphia to its knees. With only two hours to thwart the attack, Joe is going to need all the help he can get… including that of his wife’s paramour!
A mild-mannered consultant is reluctantly forced into a race against the clock as he attempts to thwart a terrorist plot, in this gritty, countdown crime thriller set in modern-day Philadelphia.
With the demise of Vertigo, I was really primed for something other than super-heroes. I saw the cover of a comic billed as crime genre and loved the way it was reminiscent of crime noir pulp novels. I read the preview pages and really liked how Joe Hayward was written like a normal guy putting himself into a extraordinary situation and planning on the fly. He continues to act that way throughout the story, eventually becoming the man we see at the end.
There is a sexual element to the story that I never quite understood exactly how it came into play. I might have missed something. However, given that Joe is introduced to the broader plot by believing his wife is having an affair, it’s not entirely out of place. It could have been toned down a little for my taste, but its presence isn’t terribly distracting.
The story does flow very well, and a big part of that is that the cast is kept pared down to what is absolutely needed. A few extra antagonists get brought in, but once they are overcome, they are gone. Thankfully, there are no last minute twists to try to out-think the reader. Everything is foreshadowed, and the protagonists remain the heroes, for lack of a better term, flaws and all.
The art is clear and concise storytelling. It’s done well, but sometimes seems a little stiff. The characters are all consistently rendered. The environment seems real, although I’ve never been to Philadelphia. Fortunately, neither the story nor art pander by putting in all of the landmarks. I’m impressed by the art and it serves the story well.