Remember when Elmore Leonard had that boom in the mid-late 90s? Everyone was either adapting him or doing their best to ape him. It became saturated and died down just as quickly as it appeared. Now we have “Blue Estate.” This comic is very Elmore Leonard and that’s a very good thing. It works that this is coming out a decade after the boom because it can stand out on its own and it might also send a few new fans back to the master’s works. This is a violent crime story and yet fun at the same time.
Like many good crime stories, this tale features a cast both wide and varied. The comic does a great job of introducing, establishing, and differentiating these mobsters and movie stars. The art certainly works to give everyone their own distinct look. That minimizes any confusion you might have when dealing with all these people. There are nasty people, wannabe gangsters, mistresses, and everything in between. The Steven Seagal analogue is extremely pointed, especially when he takes a shower.
At the center of the tale lies Roy Devine Jr. He’s a hapless hero with the right blend of being inconspicuous and more than you assume. You can see how he’ll affect the tale as it progresses. The other lead is the movie star’s ignored wife who has a few secrets of her own. She has the ability to be a nasty woman, yet there’s still that little girl lost inside of her that every man wants to see and save. This is a team up with potential for violence and hilarity.
The art is interesting because of the roving team of four attending to duties. Different scenes have different styles and yet it doesn’t affect the readability of the issue. Each artist brings something to the page as an individual creator and yet they all work in concert to deliver a sound and cohesive tale. The multiple artist aspect should not scare you away.
Reading “Blue Estate” reminds me of the glee I felt when Shane Black brought us “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” This is pulp crime but it’s not noir, which we have enough of elsewhere. There’s a freedom on the page where anything can happen, and in this issue does. “Blue Estate” is a slice of absurd depravity that’ll tickle your ribs, but probably with a loaded weapon.