Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Killer: Long Fire

There are plenty of stories about assassins out there, and this series attempts to stand apart with its psychological exploration of a cold-blooded killer as well as the intriguing twists his life takes. The unnamed protagonist of this series has to deal with the tedium of waiting for his targets to surface, the uneasy realization that he himself might be stalked prey, as well as the struggle to maintain his edge when it seems his faculties are slipping. This series feels like a compelling international spy/intrigue tale, only the "hero" is a nameless, reptilian, calculating, murdering mercenary.

The Killer: Long Fire collects the first four issues of this French comic album series translated into English. Originally published by Casterman, a Belgian company that is best known for being the home of Tintin and that publishes comics from France and Belgium, this series is published in the U.S. by Archaia. The writer speaks at length about this book and the series in this article. Also of note, this series has been optioned to be a motion picture directed by David Fincher.

The Killer is a collaboration between writer Matz (an alias for Alexis Nolent) and artist Luc Jacamon. Matz is a writer best known for his work on video games from Ubisoft such as Prince of Persia, the Assassin’s Creed series, and various games based on the work of Tom Clancy. Jacamon won an Alfred Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 1986, and he is best known for his work in commercial art. The two have also collaborated on the sci-fi series Cyclops.

This series has been coming out since 1998, and this particular volume won Best Indy Book from IGN in 2007 as well as an Eisner Award nomination for Best U.S. Edition of International Material. Reviews I have read about this volume have not been too kind. The reviewer at Publishers Weekly found the story "slight and a little disjointed, relying too heavily on self-consciously 'cool' narration and abrupt flashbacks to pad out a by-the-numbers plot." Tersely, Carrie Try Harder found the book sexist, "predictable and boring." Offering a contrary opinion, Erik Hinton called the book "maddeningly enjoyable" and likened it to a fast-paced video game.

Personally, I enjoyed the plot , though in all honesty I found myself struggling to remember much specifically about the book when I sat to write this review/summary. Still, I was struck with a sense of disappointment when I found that the story was not totally resolved in this volume, and that I want to read more is a positive sign. In sum, I think this book is best described as a suspenseful distraction, much in the same vein of entertainment as a summer action movie.

A preview and more information is available here from the book's US publisher Archaia.

This is also another book I read from Comixology on my Kindle Fire. E-comics are definitely growing on me!

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