(Markosia Enterprises, 2014)
Story and Letters: Wes Locher
Art: Emre Ozdamarlar
Cover Colors: Kell Smith
Interior Colors: Kefas Armando
Logo Design: Amanda Kent
There are certain themes and tropes that never get old. They come up again and again in popular entertainment because they work. Prison breaks, heists, revenge…all are popular ways to help us escape into another world. And The Undoubtables has all of this in spades.
Spencer Shelton is the star in every way here. He’s the Danny Ocean of this comic, a man who has a cool answer and a snappy retort in every situation. Spencer goes by the name of “Spade” and names the men he works using playing cards. He’s a thief’s thief, always on, always ready with a backup plan that the cops won’t think of in time.
Spencer breaks out of prison and right into a triangle that has him at the peak supported by the police and the mob on either end. It’s a tenuous situation, but Spade is the man, always having the upper hand and smarter than the next guy.
Wes Locher has been making a slow and steady rise in comics. He’s written a sci-fi comedy series for Alterna called Unit 44 a well as a crime miniseries for Arcana called Chambers. With The Undoubtables he releases a full-length graphic novel.
I liked the concept here. It was a blending of those films that center around a strong male character, and once Spade gets back with his team, it feels like one of the Ocean’s 11 films. The one thing that was missing for me from the character of Spade, in this iteration, was that there was no point when he was at a loss. Having Spade constantly in control makes him feel less likeable and therefore less real. There is a redemptive aspect that comes from rising above that we didn’t get with Spade in this book, and that would have been helpful in relating to him. Locher’s got a knack for keeping the energy high. There are never points where you feel like the story is dragging, so it comes out to be a pretty quick read simply because the time flies as you’re going through it.
Emre Ozdamarlar makes his first published comic appearance in this graphic novel. His art tends to feel more like some underground books from the 60’s, especially when seen in black and white. The colors are fine in this book, but if you search through the vastness of the Internet (or just to Ozdmarlar’s blog page) there are pages of this book that were uncolored, and I like it better without. This is of course no criticism of Kell Smith or Kefas Armando’s colors, which look great, but I think Ozdmarlar’s art doesn’t need it.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced, intriguing crime comic, than look no further than The Undoubtables. Wes Locher keeps the pedal buried and doesn’t let up until you flip that last page.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.