Filed under: Comic Reviews, Image Comics | Tags: Angels, Ben Templesmith, Demons, J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Fitzgerald, Ten Grand
With Image Comics seemingly having the ability to produce some of the most impressive and consistent titles in recent years, it’s no wonder that the pull-list has seen a fair share of their titles being added and the latest of these is Ten Grand.
As if it being an Image Comics release wasn’t enough, there’s the added bonus of featuring two of my favourite people involved in comics – J. Michael Straczynski writing and Ben Templesmith on art. To say I was psyched and had a pre-order in is an understatement as I’m sure a number of people took the same level of notice when this creative team was announced. I didn’t care what it was about as I just knew it would impress me…..ok, that sounds a bit fanboy-heavy, but aren’t we all nuts about a title/artist/writer in some way?
The premise is fairly straight-forward and like a lot of comics it centres on one man’s love of a woman but the man in this case is Joe Fitzgerald, an ex-mob enforcer who lost the love of his life and nearly his own on his last job. In steps an angel to feed on Joe’s plight and the offer he accepts is simple – for every death he suffers as part of a righteous cause will see him gain five minutes with dead with before coming back to the land of the living. He becomes an agent of god taking on the demons of the world and all for the simple sum of Ten Grand.
There’s an instant link with Joe, there’s something about his struggle, his plight and his outlook on the world that has you on his side. A strong narrative from Joe almost solidifies that notion from the off as his foul-mouthed, quick-witted quips seep through into his discussions on his job and that ten grand fee. Everything becomes less black & white when his latest target is someone he’s killed before and his ability to summon his employers (or at least the angel that represents god) wherever he likes, sees him take advantage by heading to a strip joint.
He embraces these conversations almost as much as he embraces his chance to die and savour that five minute reunion with his dead wife. A fairly poignant thread that’s present throughout and given our tortured main character, it almost seems to be a reasonable arrangement considering the alternative. The art is a-typical of Templesmith and the busy, horrific images he captures blend in with the angelic encounters and the subtle meetings between Joe and his wife before he comes back to life.
Joe’s tortured soul is captured well by Straczynski’s pacing and subtle hints at the fuller story as the issue progresses and the quality of art shines through in the topsy-turvy world of money, angels, demons and a long lost loved one……..that’s still loved……and not so lost. The combination with Templesmith’s art style brings us one of the most perfect combinations in a creative team I’ve seen in a long time. The start of something big I think and another permanent fixture on my pull list from Image.
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