Jeff Sinclair is the best money launderer in town and in the midst of the biggest "rinse" of his life he finds himself being chased down by hired goon and Internal Revenue agents alike. The Gary Phillips-created crime comic started fairly hot, and while the action has ramped over the two previous issues my interest has actually decreased.
Jeff is a good main character, but his plight and seeming lack of personal flaws make it hard for me jump into the story and really feel for his dilemma. Outside of his illegal vocation he has no real shortfalls: he's smart, street savvy, physically capable and apparently such a smooth talker that even members of government agencies are powerless to ignore his charms. I love competent and skilled main characters, but I'd also like to see Jeff get punched in the face once in awhile.
Outside of its lack of an engaging hero, the book is generally very good. The story moves at a speedy pace, and there is a commendable host of characters and conflict to keep the pages turning. I am still a little lost on the particulars of how Jeff actually launders money, but that almost seems to the point as its implied that it's a very tough job that requires a skilled — and gritty — mathematician. The tension thickens when the dual dangers of gangster Steven Maxon's hired muscle and IRS inspector Della Dash pursue Jeff across the west coast.
Despite this being a straightforward crime comic, I'm still waiting for the plot to do something unexpected because, as of Issue 3, the events have merely involved the protagonist staying one step in front of his pursuers in a very predictable manner.
The title is visually strong, which is a little surprising for a comic that doesn't try to be eccentric or lavish in style. Marc Lanning's approach is as vanilla as the concept, but as with the plot it pulls you in. The pencils hit that rare middle-ground of being realistic but not lifelike. Moore's colors add a certain muted vibrancy to the work with the dark tone choices reminding me of the movie Payback a little bit. I normally read comics with talking monkeys, dudes in capes and murderous cowboys, but this plain Jane comic might sport some of my favorite art on the shelves.
I like this comic, and will continue reading it until it disappoints me, but its three-star rating is based on the fact that it's not offering too much outside of a decent crime story with good art. I like Jeff Sinclair for his ability and suave, but Phillips would be best served to knock him down a peg or two by the end of the arc. Why root for the man who has everything?
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.