Current Reviews


Take a Chance #4

Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2009
By: Ray Tate

C.E. Murphy
Adrian Syaf, Jason Embury (c)
Dabel Brothers
Last issue Chance, in order to save a cop's life, shot and killed the villain China White. This issue of Take a Chance explores the consequences of the shooting.

In researching my own stories, I've read a lot of literature on cops and talked to some police officers. While the idea of a methodical, pragmatic hero like Dirty Harry nor even the original Bat-Man is possible to find in the ranks. They are not the norm. Cops are human beings and normal human beings do not like to kill. They are affected by it.

Killing China White was a necessity, but it's the first necessity Chance has ever had to face. C.E. Murphy presents Chance in a different cast of light. Chance is torn by guilt, and the job affects her secret identity in ways that have to my knowledge been unexplored by comic books. Even Spider-Man's guilt over failing Gwen Stacy doesn't quite match the emotions C.E. Murphy delves into. Besides that monumental event has been forever sullied by the unnecessary penis of Norman Osborn.

The interesting thing about this issue is that Murphy makes Chance less proactive during the first part of the story. The ramifications of the shooting wrap around her like like octopi tentacles. The shooting has exposed her to the press and the people she protects. It polarizes the way cops feel about her. It makes her a target for revenge.

Chance not at her best reacts to the more ephemeral effects, but every one of her reactions is realistically messy. Very few people have a plan when life bats at them. Most of us adapt to changes that often seem like lightning strikes. It's the best that we can do, and it's in fact humankind's forte. Chance is essentially facing the quick and brutal backhand of reality in the context of a fictional universe, one that has super-heroes and one costumed vigilante.

The second half of the book is more rousing because of Murphy's deliberate pacing in the first half. When Chance hits back, the moment's appropriately given a splash page. It's almost that Murphy is saying that beating up criminals and saving lives is easier than having to deal with the little indignities of life. In so doing, she makes a statement about the genre and the genre's needs.

The violence in Chance is simply put a tonic. Murphy isn't apologetic about it. However flawed and human Chance may be, she is one tough mamma. She is an experienced martial artist who has practiced on the streets and artists Syaf and Embury revel in her prowess. We see Chance grinning as she beats the living snot out of this more powerful but ironically helpless assassin. The sequence is wonderfully comedic and expertly yet economically choreographed. This she can do. The guilt of killing another human being may kill her, but handing her wannabe murderer his buttocks is something she can do and do well. I think it's a moment we can all share because each of us has an expertise and when we are in that zone, each of us is like a maestro.

When I first read Take a Chance my gut reaction was that this was something and C.E. Murphy continues to impress me with a literate take on the vigilante super-heroine.

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