Overview

Back to Brooklyn #2

Review

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Back to Brooklyn #2

Credits

  • Words: Garth Ennis & Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Art: Mihailo Vukelic
  • Inks: Mihailo Vukelic
  • Colors: Mihailo Vukelic
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 5, 2008

Bobbie’s on the run and he’s gonna bring along a few of his friends.

So far the problem with this book is that it started in the middle. The first issue met lots of that complaint. This issue does little to resolve that. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though as the teaser on the last page promises answers to why this is all happening in the next issue.

That’s not to say that this issue is all bad. In fact, it is miles ahead of its predecessor. The thing that pushes this one into the realm of decent comic is that Palmiotti and Ennis give us great characterization here. Sure, Paulie, Vinnie, Churchill, and others might have come out of any modern gangster film set in New York. It is Bobbie and Maggie that are at the center of this issue though and it is in their relationship that these two great writers start to show why they are great.

After last issue’s cold start, Maggie and Bobbie are on the run. Bobbie is going to need more help so he goes to another childhood friend. Meanwhile, Paulie has it all figured out and time is running out for Bobbie’s family. The introduction of Churchill, a mob enforcer leads us to the final page and what promises to be a big showdown next issue.

It is in Maggie, Bobbie and their friend Vincent that the genius in this script starts to shine through. Vinnie is really there as set dressing, to show that there was more then just the family, this girl and egg creams in their youth. The script tells us that Maggie and Bobbie had a thing. You can tell from the spot on dialogue that there was tension over Bobbie’s chosen life and the possibility of the future of the couple. What is between the lines is that Maggie resents being put in the middle of this situation where Bobbie is trying to get out of the life. Sure, if he were doing it for her, she would be happy, but Bobbie is doing it for another woman. There was a chance of saving Bobbie, but Maggie just wasn’t enough reason.

There is more then just jealousy there though. Maggie is devastated by this realization as it means that she didn’t have to lead the kind of sordid life that has become her station. They both wanted the same thing. Bobbie just didn’t want it with her. Maggie is then put in the impossible task of having to do what the guy wants out of guilt for this innocent woman and her child. She tries to get out, but her conscience won’t let her.

This is on top of all the action as Bobbie takes on a Russian enforcer on his own. That scene culminates in the kind of imagery that will stick in the reader’s head. It is probably the most effective mob torture scene since the infamous hedge clipper scene in Bound.

All in all it is an effective story. Palmiotti knows the area he is writing and probably knew people close to this kind of life. Ennis is the master of over the top violence. Together they are writing compelling characters, even if they have left the readers in the dark. When you book only has five issues, it is kind of bad form to leave the reason for everything that is going on till the half way point. Sure, it is a way to build tension, but it requires a hefty pay off. Palmiotti and Ennis are certainly capable. It is just bothersome.

Vukelic provides the dame clear storytelling as he did in the first issue. Everything is action shots with the artist. Everyone is always in motion, mid step. The problem is one panel will be vibrant and one static. What is even more frustrating is the panels were there is real emotion in a character’s face, but the pose looks staged. The striking style, thick lines and interesting and gritty color pallette makes up for some of this, but it gives the book an odd feel.

Back to Brooklyn is the kind of brave step that writers should take more often. It is a departure for Palmiotti and a bit of a reach for Ennis. It is in its flaws that the greatness within shines all the greater. Kudos for the attempt.

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