Before The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke, a while back, I saw Payback by Brian Helgeland, the crime flick with Mel Gibson in theaters. I liked the movie. I thought it was dark and cool. It had a cool anti-hero, lots of gunfights and a very unusual storyline. I thought the writers of the film were geniuses. How wrong I was!
It is the story of a man, Parker, who returns after being left for dead, betrayed by the woman he loved and double-crossed by his partner in crime. He returns to exact a cold revenge.
The Hunter :
A Darwyn Cooke´s graphic adaptation
In actuality, The Hunter, Donald Westlake´s novel, was the basis for the film (which was the second film adapted from the novel, the first one being Point Blank by John Boorman in 1967 with Lee Marvin. Donald Westlake wrote the novel under the pseudonym Richard Stark. I won´t comment on the novel, which I have not read, but I will talk about its Darwyn Cooke´s graphic adaptation.
Despite the simple pitch described above, the story is full of innovative ideas. The first time we meet Parker, master thief anti-hero, he insults a driver on the George Washington Bridge and sets the tone of the story. The next 10-15 pages are masterfully conceived, they are without dialogue and characterize Parker uniquely by his actions. We follow him through a series of strange activities that we will understand only later on. And we are blown away at the way he acts and behaves, and at how other characters react to him. The revenge-seeking thief seems to always have a plan in mind…
A stunning and majestic style
This is a crime story that is very dark-toned and that does not shy away from the main character´s brutal motive. The story goes all the way and ends in a remarkable direction, setting the stage for future adventures of Parker. This is without doubt one of the best crime graphic novels I´ve read in a while. If you like this type of fiction, you should buy the graphic novel The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke.
Comic book readers will know what to expect out of Darwyn Cooke´s style. It is generally a mix between a colourful cartoony feel and a edgy, film-noir deco settings and ambiance. For this project, Cooke disregards his usual colours and cartoony style to concentrate on the “noir” feel and opts for a monochromatic blue colour palette. The style is stunning and majestic but, most of all, encourages the reader to follow Parker in his dark quest.
People, who would like this comic book, are people:
- who have enjoyed Torso and Goldfish by Brian Michael Bendis ;
- who like fast-paced crime stories ;
- who are looking for a good story, with at the heart of it, a true, unflinching anti-hero.
Out of 20, this is a 17.
To learn more:
- The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke is published by IDW Publishing