Man, this is some awesomely fun comics. With Dominic Fortune, Howard Chaykin has delivered one of the most exciting comics of his long career.
The fourth issue of the Dominic Fortune mini-series brings Fortune back to New York from Berlin circa 1936, as he tracks down a conspiracy to create an American Nazi state via coup d’etat.
Chaykin is in rare and breathtaking swashbuckling form as he tells his story. This issue is full of raw and rather vicious action from the pen of one of the masters of old fashioned, pulp-influenced comics art. Chaykin intersperses a generous portion of humor and sexual tension with his action, giving the scenes set in the past a thrilling sort of contemporary feel. This isn’t some dull costume drama about the past; this is exhilarating pulp-style action. The story has a modern feel that still maintains a sort of retro slam-bang action style. It’s a bit sexed up, and definitely more violent than most books you might find from the ’30s, but the story is definitely true to those roots.
There are some shockingly cool scenes in this book. The way that Fortune disposes of a group of thugs attempting to attack the White House is eye-poppingly violent, and thrilling for its outrageousness. (The scene takes a nasty scene from the Chaykin-illustrated War Is Hell: Last Flight of the Phantom Eagle to an even higher degree.)
I also loved the nasty fight on the courthouse steps in New York, as Fortune shows himself to be both smart and a tremendously effective fighter.
Add in some wonderful use of Photoshop for backgrounds and clothes, and some terrific storytelling by Chaykin, and you end up with a completely satisfying pulp adventure. This comic isn’t as ambitious as some of the comics from Chaykin’s past, but there’s nothing wrong with that if he’ll continue to deliver exhilarating comics like this one.