Do you remember the really popular, beautiful, “it” girl in high school? Remember thinking how perfect your life would be if you were her boyfriend? Hey, maybe her rich father could hook you up with a great, cushy job. Well, I’ve got some great news for you – you’re married and you’ve got that job! You’ll most likely be pampered for the rest of your life. Oh, and no need to worry about supporting your crippling gambling addiction because there will always be money to cover your losses. So, wait.. why aren’t you happy?
Turns out you actually hate that job and your wife being popular and beautiful in high school isn’t exactly enough to support a marriage. Who knew? Maybe you just need a break from it all. Unfortunately (or fortunately), your father takes sick and needs you by his side. So you visit your hometown but rather than giving you some room to breathe from your crushing life in the city, it only makes you realize just how miserable you truly are.
So, what’s the solution? Do you go back and tell your wife it simply isn’t working out? Do you quit your job? Or.. do you kill your wife and try and screw your father-in-law out of millions of dollars? In Ed Brubaker’s work, ain’t nobody going to pick anything but option C.
The Last of the Innocent is a tremendous read, despite the fact that the plot sounds all too familiar. Let’s face it – you read that and think – “oh, isn’t this like ninety percent of noir novels?” Sure, I mean – you wouldn’t exactly be wrong. However, there’s something subtly brewing under the surface that I didn’t quite get until I read a review online – this is Riverdale, Riley is Archie! Sure, there’s a shift in artwork at certain points that harkens back to the gang in Riverdale, but I thought that was just a representation of a more innocent time for Riley. Turns out I’m just not that observant.
I’ve said it before, if you’re a crime fiction fan and have never explored the world of seedy, crime comics, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Brubaker and Phillips are like comics’ Scorcese and Deniro – they’re made for one another. There’s no better team working today.