REVIEW: “Noir” #2

(Dynamite Entertainment, 2013)

Review by Brad Gischia

Written by – Victor Gischler
Illustrated by – Andrea Mutti
Colors – Vladimir Popov
Letters – Rob Steen
Cover – Ardian Syaf

A few spoilers…

Welcome back to Dynamite’s U-Noir-verse, the world where hard-boiled criminals go toe-to-toe with tough gals and even tougher gals. In this, the second offering from Victor Gischler, the focus is directly on the women of the universe, Black Sparrow and Miss Fury, those tough dames that slipped through The Shadow’s grip at the end of issue #1. (Pardon the tone; I just get so excited when I talk about old-timey gangster and pulp heroes.)

Sparrow and Fury are looking for the injured man from the first issue, a Native American that is the key to the mystery of the moonstone. He is recuperating in the hospital, and they’re going to bust him out.

As they pound the hell out of the security guards the Black Sparrow narrates the back story, a tale of Templar/Native American cooperation that saved the moonstone and perhaps the Templars’ much-vaunted treasure.

The art is top-notch again, with Andrea Mutti penciling and Vladimir Popov coloring, the book has the gritty feel you expect from a pulp book, and the tones are muted, giving it a city feel.

This is a great second-act to the first issue, continuing a story that pulled you in with The Shadow and completely leaving him out of the second book, making this, not another book with the Shadow in it, but a true homage to the Noir name and the pulp heroes it encompasses.

My main problem with this comic is no one’s fault. Blame popular culture, blame the media, blame Joe Cool. It’s really hard to forget that these costumes bear more than a striking resemblance to Batman and Robin/Nightwing. Miss Fury has pointy ears above her completely black costume; the inside of her cape is scarlet. I can’t help but feel a bit of a Batgirl vibe there. The Black Sparrow, although wearing a little military-style cap and uniform, is still wearing a pointy eye-mask that feels like a Nightwing mask. Again, the artists aren’t at fault. This is really my pre-conceived idea changing my reading of the story. Miss Fury’s costume is based on the original from the forties, and has been faithfully re-created. In an Elseworlds timeline I’d be saying that these crazy Batman and Birdboy characters remind me of The Black Sparrow and Miss Fury.

Despite this stupid, nagging brain-tic on my part, the story itself is enjoyable, well written, and fast moving. It pairs well with the art in furthering the feel of the film-noire genre, complete with sinister relatives ready to pick up the slack when their brothers are caught. (Bit of a spoiler there.)

My bias aside, this was a good read, a true representation of noire and pulp heroes reborn.

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Follow Brad Gischia on Twitter:  @comicwasteland

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