Saturday, 28 January 2017

Loose Ends #1 Review (Jason Latour, Chris Brunner)

Jason Latour, Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi started their four-issue miniseries Loose Ends in 2007, managed to publish three issues and then stopped indefinitely. This year Image will publish the complete run including the previously unpublished fourth and final issue – the creative team finally tying up this… loose end? Ohohoho, I amuse myself…

Billed as a “Southern crime romance”, the first issue opens at a dive bar near Charlotte, North Carolina, where drug-runner Sonny is parked with his car boot filled with cash. He’s there to see his estranged partner Kim after he did something desperate and stupid. Meanwhile in the bar, things get rowdy among the dirtbag regulars and the guns come out…

What a great first issue! In tone and style Loose Ends reminds me of Jason Aaron’s Scalped, which began the same year, as well as Southern Bastards, which Latour co-created with Aaron, and, surprisingly, it’s equally as good as both. It’s a dark, tense, violent story about modern-day outlaws and it’s beguiling from the start, becoming increasingly more compelling as it goes on.

I had to check to see if Latour didn’t also illustrate this comic as Chris Brunner’s art style looks really similar to Latour’s, particularly the male figures. Rico Renzi’s colours are a revelation – grungy, neon, unusual choices light up the pages, turning the everyday mundane into a surreal wonderland; really beautiful work.

Looking at the cover, you’d be forgiven in thinking that the woman is the main character except in this issue she’s in a supporting role with Sonny getting most of the attention. But while we get a vague idea of where Sonny’s coming from, the woman is totally undeveloped, to the point where I can’t even recall her name, let alone her motivations! 

Still, Loose Ends #1 is definitely a triumph, made all the more impressive considering the creators’ lack of experience at the time, and I was quickly hooked, enjoying this sordid and dark story. I’m in for the whole run and heartily recommend this series to fans of comics like Scalped, Southern Bastards and Criminal.

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