Choker #1 is a tour de force performance by one of the most evocative comic book artists working in the industry today, Ben Templesmith. Coupled with a writer in Ben McCool who capture a mood beautifully with just a few captions, and you have the recipe for an intriguing comic book that creates a world that you might not want to ever visit in real life, but you can’t wait to visit again in comic book form.
Choker gives you an idea of what it is all about pretty early on. Just check out the second page of the story…
That pretty much lets you know what type of comic you’re getting here.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the first issue of Choker is how much Templesmith and McCool DON’T tell you – I love how they allow the peculiarities of this world to slowly reveal themselves to the readers.
Check out this wonderful little piece of storytelling by Templesmith…
You gotta love a corpse vacuum!!
Heck, even later on, in an exposition-heavy scene where the lead character, Johnny Jackson, thinks back upon his life, the exposition is doled out heavily but also obscurely…
I really enjoy how Templesmith and McCool slowly build up their setting – as the story goes on, you learn more and more about “Shotgun City,” and what you do learn is not pretty – but it sure is interesting.
McCool, by the way, paints a picture with his captions in an extremely vivid fashion…
It’s like Raymond Chandler with electrodes attached to his testicles.
While no comic can ever really take the place of Fell and its home of Snowtown, Choker and Shotgun City makes the wait until the next issue of Fell a lot easier to handle, with a fascinating opening issue to the series – an issue made all the more fascinating by the fact that it totally captures your attention with pretty much nothing but various characters talking to each other. As I mentioned earlier, McCool and Templesmith create a mood that permeates the book to the point where you can see the importance attached to something as simple as a dialogue for a future job, as Jackson is given a chance to go back to the police force after three years of working as a private investigator (naturally, there are a number of suspicious catches to this offer).
This is an impressive first issue, and I look forward to learning more about Shotgun City and its history, and to watch as Jackson assuredly gets in over his head in his return to the force (a lot of credit goes to McCool for making Jackson as likable as he is – he is not a character that screams “I am likable!” so McCool does a great job of making him work as a protagonist).
And, of course, I look forward to more amazing Templesmith artwork!
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