Monday, September 25, 2017

Loose Ends

Originally a limited series published about 10 years ago, but not finished, Loose Ends was re-published as a 4-issue limited series earlier this year. It is subtitled "A Southern Crime Romance," perhaps to associate this work with the writer's more famous work Southern Bastards.Out of those three descriptors, the one that stood out the most for me was "Crime."
As you can see from the opening vignette, the protagonist Sonny is a drug-runner. Here he decides to take a detour to pay off an old debt, settling up with his ex with a good chunk of change for raising their son. Of course, things go south in an unexpected way, setting off a chain of events where Sonny ends up on the lam with a voluptuous woman named Cheri. He does not realize it at first, but she is an acquaintance from his adolescence. Together, the two share a kind of romance, though it's more like the best thing two desperate people can do to stave off loneliness, despair, and poor choices.

The two are pursued by double-crossed criminals, dirty cops, and the authorities, but they are also dogged by the past, which appears in many instances via flashbacks such as this:
In these, we are privy to what went on during the tortured duo's high school years. We also see Sonny's days as a soldier in Afghanistan as well as the pivotal moments when he turned to crime. This book is ambitious in that it tackles a great many social issues wrapped up in a pretty violent, compelling crime drama. I won't way that it sticks the landing in every case, but it is a good read, and a book I plan to revisit. The action is intense, and the drawings and colors are electric and spectacular.

Loose Ends is a long-term collaboration between writer Jason Latour, artist Chris Brunner, and colorist Rico Renzi. Latour is more known for his artwork on the Eisner and Harvey Award winning series Southern Bastards as well as for writing Spider-Gwen. Brunner has drawn a bunch of comics, usually working with Latour and Renzi. Renzi colors lots of comics, including Spider-Gwen and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Latour and Brunner both speak about their work on this series in this interview.

The reviews I have read of this book have been pretty mixed, except for the universal praise for the artwork. AJ Zender called it "a visually and intellectually beautiful story that captures the extreme highs and lows of Sonny Gibson’s life." Daniel Vlasaty had a more tempered response, writing that it "felt some important pieces to the story were left underdeveloped, and just dropped into our laps without much explanation or follow-through." Jason Segarra concluded that it was "high on visuals, but a little rushed as a story."

Loose Ends was published by Image Comics, and they have previews and more available about it here. Because of violence, sexual situations, and profanity, I suggest this book for more mature readers.

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