SCENE OF THE CRIME (Image, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Scene of the Crime Nos. 1-4 and a story from Vertigo: Winter's Edge No. 2 (cover dates January- August, 1999)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Michael Lark (penciler) and Sean Phillips (inker)
Colorist: James Sinclair
Do you know what it's like, when you would discover an earlier album that you never knew existed by a band that you like? That's exactly how this book felt to me. Like wow, not only did I not know that this existed, but it is every bit as great as what they're doing today. Ingredients that are found in Criminal or Fatale are already present here, although the recipe might not be as refined. In the Afterword, Brubaker states that he cringes at how wordy some of these panels are. Hogwash! This is great stuff. This story reads just fine. The artwork by the team of Michael Lark and Sean Phillips is excellent and helps the series look current 14 years after it was originally published. This looks like it could have been released this year.
Scene of the Crime was originally published by Vertigo (DC's mature readers imprint), and as such, this is not all ages friendly reading. It's the story of Jack Herriman, a private investigator who is hired to track down a missing girl. This leads Jack into a world of cults, blackmail, and crooked cops. Kudos to Image for giving this the deluxe treatment that it so richly deserves.
There is a story included as a bonus in the back of the book from Vertigo: Winter's Edge No. 2. While the original was published in black and white, this short story is recolored here for the first time. God and Sinners is a heart-wrenching, disturbing holiday tale that made me a little nauseous.
The covers are all collected in a gallery in the back, which must be a Brubaker thing. The Criminal hardcovers are the same way. My OCD prefers them to be inserted as chapter breaks before the issue so that it gives the feel of reading the comic books. Putting them in the back makes it read more like a “graphic novel”. Your mileage may vary.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is a decent package overall, and below you'll find exactly why I feel this way.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. This has super thick coated stock paper, and it smells great to boot. Not toxic Chinese ink great, but that funky Canadian ink smell great.
Binding rating: 4.75 out of 5. While this book has sewn binding, it does not lay as flat as Chinese books with sewn binding. See, Canadians adhere to child labor laws, while Chinese bookmakers use children with tiny hands to make their books. That's their ancient Chinese secret.
Hardback cover coating rating: 4 out of 5. It is becoming increasingly apparent that dustjackets are going to become extinct for these types of books. This has the image printed directly on the hardback, and has a coating of decent thickness. It can be scuffed, so be careful, folks.