Comic Review: Friend Of The Devil (Image Comics)

What a great time to read original graphic novels, what with all this pandemic downtime. And a new one has appeared from the Ed Brubaker-Sean Phillips-Jacob Phillips creative team at […]

What a great time to read original graphic novels, what with all this pandemic downtime. And a new one has appeared from the Ed Brubaker-Sean Phillips-Jacob Phillips creative team at Image Comics.

Ethan Reckless, in 1985 is investigating a murder. He’s a PI and living on the lower price level of town. You know, the inexpensive lifestyle, the California Dreamin’ that had become a disappointment. It’s called Friend Of The Devil.

This is the territory where Ed Brubaker stakes his claim; writing about the downtrodden, the weak, the huddled drinkers, the masses of immigrants who work in menial jobs. The sweaty underbelly of the good life, scraping along on the forgotten old highway that the freeway passed by.

Without delving into and spoiling and describing the plot, let’s just summarize it as a ‘whodunnit-and-why’. It’s seamy and desperate. Sad and heartfelt. Love and death. Brubaker gives his characters a soul, donates some damage and a few self-destructive urges, and lets them wander. So amazing to read. And Sean Phillips draws the seedy motels, the banged-up bars, the stars and stripes with a bit of rust. He gives us the quick visual version of the big picture and handles it with a professional look. Just enough, not laid on heavy. Colour by Jacob Phillips is thoughtful; pale, pronounced, contrasty, whatever the scene demands.

It’s more than enough, it’s an excellent read. First in a series of three original graphic novels. Gritty and good.

Image, Friend of the Devil, original graphic novel, $24.99 for 152 pages. Crime Mystery Mature rating.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!