Rinse And Blow Dry

The Rinse #1, a modern day Noir

Now I am not traditionally a fan of ‘simple’ crime comics. There are not enough people in spandex beating each other up or cosmic concepts designed to blow your mind and make you think big, really really big, for my tastes.

Even I need a break sometimes however, and with Fear Itself, Flashpoint and the DC Explosion – I mean the DCnU, (sorry, bit of a timeslip there); it is nice to take a break from world shattering events and inter-related story lines that take a year just to reveal the events of a day or two, and look at the far more normal world. Boom, as reliable as ever, has given me that opportunity, with a dollar comic this week entitled ‘The Rinse’.

The style of simple crime comics has never really drawn me in. For example, if I may blaspheme for a second, I really couldn’t get into any of the Sin City material. I’m sure it is a classic, but it never thrilled me. Yet maybe reading all of the retro-Golden Age titles such as the excellent Mystery Men currently being published by Marvel has educated my palette somewhat. If you enjoyed titles such as The Twelve, or even Project Superpowers (which I really want to see more of by the way), then you will love Mystery Men.

Written by the crime writer Gary Phillips (The Underbelly, Cowboys, The Jook), a man who apparently looks as if he could ‘crush a cinder block with his bare hands’, there is little in the opening pages that made me realise this story was set in the present day, so perfectly is it suited to the traditional ‘Noir’ style of the Forties. Not until the seventeenth page where our central character, Jeff Sinclair; a fence (for want of a better word), holds up a smart phone with a photograph did I place the story as contemporary. Not that I cared, having by this point been drawn into a complex web of relationships and roles. A federal agent who gives our fence an obscure tip off, a man who’s money is too dirty for even Sinclair to take, when he is quite happy to help rip off a major mobster in the peril of his life, all peppered with a reasonable quote from Ayn Rand. (Well, it’s the first reasonable one I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard plenty! They seem to be the height of fashion currently.)

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Marc Laming’s art is halfway between the crisp Jimenez style I so adore, and the pencil heavy style of the Boys’ Annuals of my childhood, an effect created not by being pencil heavy but by masterful use of colouring and an awareness in every panel of light. Due to the subject matter, it is not art that draws you in, but serves as a perfect medium for the story, enhancing the mood and providing subtle nuances to the script.

If every offering in the crime genre was as enthralling as this, why, I may never need to bathe in a burst of cosmic rays or emerald light ever again. Boom have certainly made the price tag attractive, demonstrating their confidence in the title, and rightly so.

On a total aside, the mention of Project Superpowers reminds me of a title related in the opposite direction, the spandex side of things. When are we going to see more Kirby Genesis? C’mon Dynamite, there’s two good properties there you are leaving in Limbo, and neither are well established enough to be left to languish too long. Anyways, I need my fix!

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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