"I've given you an order and you'll do well by keepin' that pie-hole shut" - Uncle Norman
Franklin Skyles is a mid-level gangster, the sort that commands a couple of minders and thinks he's immune from retribution or actually paying for his crime. Of course this doesn't matter to Winter City's caped crusader who cuts a bloody swath through Franklin's henchmen before delivering biblical justice to Franklin himself.
Seems young Sam Winter's learnt all about killing on his Uncle Norman's farm, and quite possibly a fair bit about respect as well as Norman enforced his will on the young boy.
Detectives Daniels and Harvey are searching for a connection that will tie in Skyles with the first victim, Alan McLean. They may have found it at the offices of Smitzzen, a company that employed Skyles and had a major shareholding in McLean's company. No prizes for guessing that there might be a few more openings at the top of Smitzzen in the near future.
Before journeying into the dark heart of this review I thought I might take a couple of minutes to cover two intriguing aspects of Winter City. Feel free to jump a couple of paragraphs if you feel so inclined, your lost yo!
It's been quite a time between drinks with Winter City due to the Writers having a new family member arrive, congratulations are well deserved there, and the decision to focus on the electronic versions. For those who want a printed version, they will still be an available option, and naturally of a high standard. Sign of the times as Prince was apt to tell us, the printed format is no longer necessarily the correct choice. I should also point out that Winter City is now available in foreign language versions, another good indication that the graphic novel is reaching beyond Australian and South American shores to new markets. So everything is pretty new territory for the Brothers Purcell, good luck on all fronts there.
The other thing I wanted to touch bases with, and this is in the realm of spoilers - read on at your own peril, counting roaches climbing the wall over here. Still with me, cool, I wanted to highlight Pablo Verdugo Munoz's outstanding artwork with one of the more bloody scenes yet deployed in Winter City. If you are an animal activist or a vegetarian then get the frack out now! - this is going to cause you nightmares. Young Sam Winters, aged seven we are helpfully informed, is out in the barn with his Uncle Norman doing a few chores. Said chores involve slaughtering and bleeding six pigs, and no prizes for guessing who our masked psycho killer is going to be. Anyways old Uncle Norman is pretty much a believer in the hands on approach, not noting the clearly traumatised kid in his care isn't up for the barn that dripped blood. Now that's not what I wanted to talk about, just setting the scene, Munoz's nails the look on the pigs' faces as they go under the stun gun. A euphemism for a bolt firing device generally used in slaughter houses. For anyone who has worked in a slaughter house, putting my hand up here, you'll know the look, those pigs know they are going to their deaths and there's nothing they can do about it. Excuse me while I go make a bacon sandwich right about here. Munoz gets two thumbs up for really rocking this scene out, we get the traumatised kid, the traumatised pigs, and the almost psychotic Uncle Norman talking about bloodletting. If anyone ever makes the movie version of this graphic novel, then this scene is almost a requirement, wonder how far you could push it with our censors? I'm really digging Munoz's artwork; the boy sure does have a knack for locking in a scene to best effect.
The Purcell Bros are really starting to hit their stride with part two of Winter City. We have two well defined Detectives investigating the murder spree, a unique psycho with a fixed agenda, and something of a mystery to solve in time honoured crime fiction fashion. Added fuel to the fire here is getting an insight into Sam Winter's early life and just what might have put him on the path toward his new persona, assuming here things are as clear cut as they seem on first glance. Its solid writing all round with the script flowing naturally, I'm yet to see things written into a corner or a development due to the script requiring it. Of course the main thing is part two is keeping interest on a high simmer, and with part three sitting in the queue, I'm pretty happy to rip into things over here.
Before moving on, a word on our antagonist, we're talking a pretty cool take no prisoners creation. I guess the nearest comparison I would point a sharp object at would be a cross between Batman and Dexter, with some Dr Doom mixed in for good measure. There's almost a vampire nature to things, no this isn't a supernatural foray, everything's dark, gloomy, and gothic, just the way we may want it. For sure Winter City is definitely worth dialling into for our masked avenger alone. And remembering here there's a biblical connection with the deadly sins etc. to blend into the mix. Actually I was off trying for some quotes down that direction over the weekend, there's something about vengeance being mine, but couldn't locate the exact quote.
I think the crucial thing to remember form here is that it's going to get a lot more bloody before the resolution hooves into view, I get the feeling there might be the odd bit of wheels within wheels happening.
Guess I already talked about the artwork enough above, remembering Winter City is delivered in full glorious colour. Once again I'm getting a distinct superhero vibe to the actual City scenes, with an almost middle west feel to the country scenes. I actually wouldn't be surprised if Ed Gein showed up to do some work around Uncle Norman's farm. Anyway excellent art, am digging this book.
Okay so out of room here, where the hell did the words go? I was certainly grooving to the second volume of Winter City, and as soon as I finish this review will be ripping into the third instalment. Full recommendation kids, best psycho outing since The List amazed us all. The three current instalments are available from the official site, which is pretty much a work of art unto itself. Check it out, you will be dirty on yourself if you miss this excellent series.
[Editor's Note: The artwork presented in this review remains the intellectual property of the crew at Winter City. Please do not copy and use for any means without first seeking approval to do so from the copyright owners].