Friday, 24 January 2014

Snapshot Review (Andy Diggle, Jock)

Jake Dobson, a comic book store clerk, finds a cell phone on his way to work inside of which are numerous photos of a murder victim. This sets off a sequence of events where Jake is pursued by crazy hitmen, the police, and a secret organisation of nutters who have a fetish for pinkie fingers. 

A comic from Andy Diggle and Jock, the creative team behind Green Arrow: Year One, should be all kinds of awesome and, disappointingly, it’s not. It’s a story that starts promisingly but ends up becoming a contrived b-movie thriller. 

Jake’s your basic everyman reacting the same way anyone would, horrified at the dark world of murder and high level secrets he stumbles upon, but really he should’ve been killed several times over in the story. We’re supposed to believe a comic book store clerk can somehow outwit multiple professional assassins? At a certain point, Jake getting lucky over and over again becomes tedious. 

The story itself goes from odd and somewhat mysterious, in a good way, to utterly confusing and ultimately forgettable. There’s this group of bad guys after this other group and there’s a secret organisation and everyone’s got their pinkie fingers cut off, and… at a certain point I just stop trying to follow it, it just wasn’t rewarding enough. 

Diggle’s gone the route of Morning Glories, piling on intrigue after intrigue until it gets too complex and the reader has no idea what’s happening in the story. It’s fun for a while and then when you realise the writer has tangled himself up in the various plot threads and is unable to align them in a way that makes sense, it starts to get frustrating until you just plain give up. Unlike Morning Glories though, Snapshot is mercifully limited to 100 pages only. 

Jock’s art is pretty good here but the black and white approach to this story might not have been the best approach here. Certain panels like the one with the dead bodies in a car upside down were hard to decipher no matter how much I looked at it and some colours would’ve helped differentiate between the shadows and the blood, both of which were presented as pure black. 

I wanted to like this but ended up just flicking through the last third, bamboozled to the last. What does the final page mean? How did Jake survive all that madness at the end? I didn’t care. Snapshot is an overly complex lacklustre thriller with good art.

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