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Cobb: Off The Leash #3 (ADVANCE)

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Cobb: Off The Leash #3 (ADVANCE)

Credits

  • Words: Beau Smith
  • Art: Eduardo Barreto
  • Inks: Eduardo Barreto
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99

The slam-bang finale to the first Cobb mini-series is here, bringing in guns, gams, and egregious violence, though sadly it isn’t enough to make for a good ending.

When we last left Cobb, he and Murpin were left to set up a trade with the Russian crime boss Yuri – Yuri’s ex-wife, Nikita, in exchange for Murpin’s granddaughter, Molly! While Cobb had proven in past issues to be nearly untouchable (a highly-trained, nasty piece of work) he’s up against two of Yuri’s top-dollar, professional assassins, the backstabbing Natasha and the inviolable Cossack, who’s nearly as tough, strong, and undefeatable as Cobb. Throw all these players plus a league of Middle Eastern drug traders into a single mansion with 22-pages of uninterrupted story, and the showdown brewing seems to be a brouhaha worth watching!

Unfortunately, most of the book wastes its pages on build-up, with banter between Cobb and Murpin, Molly and Murpin, Yuri and the Cossack, Yuri and Natasha, etc, etc. When the action finally does erupt it is, indeed, a thrill, but it’s short-lived and sweet and not even terribly imaginative. Cobb: Off the Leash has been one long homage to the B exploitation movies of the 70’s, but as a modern work you’d think writer Beau Smith – normally a sure bet for a fun and solid story – could have left behind those film’s greater flaws while keeping onboard all of their strengths. Instead, though, Cobb #3 winds up suffering from a too-sudden end, a comparatively lackluster final throw-down, and too many empty moments of overly playful dialogue (just like the lesser of the movies!). For a final issue, and especially for a book as simple and straight-forward as Cobb, Smith needed desperately to get down to business and give readers the hyper-violent, grand guignol ending they (well, I) were clamoring for. The series needed a merciless issue to end as a worthwhile reading venture.

But as it stands, this first series of Cobb, in its entirety, winds up border-line parody, with all the clichés lovingly kept (foreign people speak broken English, the Middle Easterners shout or toss in Allah at every possible opportunity, everyone seems to have the same highly-developed wry sense of humor, every death is preceded by a situation-comedy send-up; the list goes on…), but zero innovation or subtlety to make it stand out as its own original beast, qualities that most of the truly memorable films of this kind did, for their time, wield in spades.

The art by Barreto, though, was well suited to the series’ needs, and gave the book an old-school feel a la the original Vigilante or Punisher books. Barreto’s style is crisp and clean for the slow moments, but instantly blurry and packed with dynamism when the action resolutely kicks in.

Cobb certainly had its moments, and one of the best even came in this final issue – the fight (brief as it was) between the Cossack and Cobb was outstanding, and lead to a character development between the two that is, as far as I’m concerned, the only reason to pick up any further Cobb minis. Though we’ll see. Unless this plot thread is prominent in the sequel, I’d more than likely pass, not wanting to suffer through another let down like this one.

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