Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm not "Down" on this comic...sorry.

This is from the second issue, but I wanted a more SFW scan; no swears or anything.
Some viewers may consider the movie Leaving Las Vegas to be downbeat, but to me it’s uplifting: Nicholas Cage’s character had a goal, stuck with his goal through adversity, and achieved his goal. Sure, said goal was to drink himself to death, but perseverance is perseverance. In the same vein is today’s book, Warren Ellis’s Down.

Featuring art by Tony Harris and Cully Hamner, the GCD claims the limited series ran from December 2005 to March 2006, although I would’ve sworn the second half was late. Nor do I remember, if I ever knew, why Harris only did the first two issues, or if that was the plan from the start.

Undercover cop Deanna Ransome has been working on, and within, the Sakura mob for two years. This last drug deal will deliver the evidence needed to bring the entire organization down. Instead, when she sees three men forcing a woman to smoke crack so they can rape her; Deanna kills the lot of them. Although three other cops get killed in the process, it does strike me as a bit of a weak gang…

Suspended, Deanna is given a new assignment by Lt. Price: five years ago, Price sent Detective Nick River undercover to bring down the bigger Mendoza gang. River killed Mendoza, sure; but then he took over, running the gang to that day. Deanna points out that “sending a cop undercover to basically assassinate a drug dealer” is awfully illegal; and I was just wondering why Price doesn’t simply spread the word River was a cop. (Presumably, either the gang no longer cares, or it would be more damaging and/or incriminating to reveal the police put a hit out.)

Price asks why Deanna killed the Sakura gang, and knows it wasn’t just because of the rape. Deanna explains, with a bitterly detached calm, that she was raped, four times, between the ages of 14 and 16. All reported to the police, none prosecuted. Price says Deanna would never get off suspension, but there is an option: go undercover again, this time in the Mendozas. Get Nick River. Price isn’t particular about River's condition, either…
This is from #3, Cully Hamner art.
A great opening issue, that could’ve easily spun out a longer series. Or a movie or TV show, although it would doubtless be sanitized a great deal. Ellis subtly sets up things that pay off later, as well—Deanna will go out of her way to kill rapists, but doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the victims; and Price seems to be sticking with a plan that didn’t work out that great the first time around. And at least for me, this one doesn’t end on a “down” note…I’m so sorry.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

This actually looks alot better than the standard fare being offered today, witht he exception of anything written by Jeff Lemire and Scott Synder. Nice one.

And yeah, I can easily see this becoming a movie, even if it does land on a cable channel.