Page 45 Review by Jonathan
Can I just confess I am the type of person who when they first read a graphic novel can sometimes be more focused on the plot than the artwork? (Although frequently I'll immediately read something again to really take the art in the second time around.) However, when I opened THE HUNTER, it would be fair to say the double-page spread of the 1962 New York City skyline blew me away so much it was at least a good minute before I even got to page 3 and the start of the story proper. And I can honestly say the single splash on page 20 of Parker staring himself out in the mirror is the first time I have ever seriously thought I want that original artwork!!
I have really enjoyed Darwyn Cookes previous work, the pulpy noir feel he captures so neatly being particularly well showcased in his BATMAN: EGO AND OTHER TALES collection, but this really is something else again. For those of you who aren't familiar with Richard Stark's Parker character here's what you need to know: quite simply Parker is someone you do not want to fuck with. He is resourceful, remorseless and utterly relentless. Hard-boiled to the point you wouldn't even get your spoon in, Parker is a criminal genius, a career thief whose meticulous planning and ultra-careful selection of associates have helped ensure the police don't even know he exists. Except... having had a planned job fall through at the last moment and running a little low on ready cash, Parker decides to take a chance when slimy new acquaintance Mal has a proposition about a heist that seems relatively straightforward and easy money for everyone involved. Which it would have been if Mal hadn't got in deep trouble with the mob and found himself needing far more than his cut of the heist in order to get back in with them. A particularly brutal double-cross follows leaving Parker for dead, but unfortunately for Mal not quite dead enough instead just leaking slightly, mildly flambéd and very, very pissed off...
Fans of CRIMINAL, 100 BULLETS, of crime writers like Richard Stark and George Pelicanos, or TV shows like The Wire and The Sopranos, this one is for you, my friends. We are promised that Darwyn Cooke will adapt a further two Parker books, but on the strength of this outing and with Stark having written over twenty Parker novels, I'm hoping he'll adapt rather more than that.