Grand Passion #4 ComicWow! Review

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James Robinson is a multiple-Eisner Award Winner.  He has written for both Marvel and DC.  His credits include Starman, Squadron Supreme, Scarlet Witch, and Captain America.  He was also the screenwriter for the movie version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Tom Feister is an Eisner ward Winner, (Ex Machina, Wildstorm Comics)  He has also worked on Iron Man, GI Joe, Green Lantern, and The Initiative.  He has worked for Both Marvel and DC, Wildstorm, Devil’s Due, Dark Horse, and other publishers.

This is the fourth issue of a five-issue miniseries.  In previous issues, readers were introduced to Mac and Mabel.  Mac is a burnt-out-but-honest cop.  After his wife dies, he moved from the big city to a small town full of corrupt cops.  Mabel is a crook.  Mac killed her partner.  Mabel swore revenge, and came to kill Mac.  Things got interesting, and now she and Mac are lovers.  Meanwhile, the corrupt cops are out to kill Mac.

Mac and Mabel are in Mac’s house, surrounded by heavily armed bad guys.  Mabel, not realizing that she would fall in love (lust) with Mac, brought a significant supply of weapons, ammo, and explosives.  There is a strong siege element to this issue.

Robinson is a brilliant writer.  Like issue three, this issue happens in almost real time. The action, dialogue, and character development are so densely, almost frenetically packed, but at the same time, Mac and Mabel exude a cinematic, nearly glacial cool.  At times, using only terse dialogue or mere glances, this writer knows how to say a great deal using very few words.

Feister’s artwork is restrained.  This issue features more action than the last issue, but even in gunfights and explosions, there is matter-of-factness to his work.  Feister may be showing restraint in order to ramp up the next (fifth and last) issue, so we’ll have to wait and see!

There is a lot of nudity and significant use of bad language in this issue.  It is, however, in keeping with the storyline and an integral part of the story.  In some ways, it is reminiscent of the movie versions of Frank Miller’s Sin City. Both are stylized, almost balletic interplays of noir elements. The difference lies in the contrast between the urban surrealism of Sin City and the stylized realism of Feister’s rural noir.

Fans of Sin City need this comic.  This is what happens when you let storytellers of tremendous skill and talent create.  It is smart, fast, and sexy.  In Grand Passion, brilliant plot, fascinating characters and amazing dialogue combine with tremendous artwork to produce one of the best noir comics of the past few years.

Written by: James Robinson

Illustrated by: Tom Feister

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