Written by: Chip Zdarsky, Art and Cover by: Jacob Phillips.
Easton Newburn, ex police officer with a hardened approach to his cases, now works for the Mafia families as an independent private eye. He takes no side while investigating the crimes that the police force don’t want to touch. With being the middleman to many crime families though, is he in over his head?
RECAP: Emily is being held at gunpoint by Officer Talford under the suspicion of murder. He knows from the intel that he gave the Albanos that they are outside waiting to kill her. Newburn is on his way there to stop anything from happening. With the head of the Yakuza dead though, the families are going to want answers soon before a war erupts. Can Newburn navigate through this deadly game, or is he playing a different game altogether?
So far we have seen Newburn at his talented best. Now as we reach the end of the first volume, we are seeing his clinical and calculating side. Throughout this magnificent run, writer Chip Zdarsky has crafted characters who are neither good nor bad. All have shades of grey, as they are very true to life characters. The mobsters have their own code of ethics, the police have their moles and corrupt officers. The constant has been Newburn who has bridged the gap and kept the peace in his own way by dealing with the families the way the police couldn’t. Zdarsky’s writing has been compelling and it doesn’t let up here. Throughout the first volume, Newburn has walked the line between good and bad based solely on his conduct towards the guilty party. It’s here that we finally see him snap. Could this be pressure from doing the job or does he truly know something that we don’t? He spirals out of control until we get his defining Walter White moment of “I am the one who knocks” as he proclaims to the detectives they they don’t know him, the scared family “that fear, they know me, you don’t”. It’s powerful writing that I’ve come to expect from Zdarsky, but I wasn’t ready for Newburn to go that deep down the rabbit hole.
These last few issues have been the best of the series so far. As I’ve stated since day one, this would be better with an overall connecting narrative. The ending was powerful and incredibly well-written. It’s been building since the first issue, but realistically this has only been going on since issue 6.
Jacob Phillips's artwork has been immaculate from the start. He’s an incredible talent that is working in some of the best books out there for a reason. Despite this issue lacking in physical confrontations, each panel is bursting with attitude and action. There’s always a sense of urgency and ones of the best parts of the book is how disheveled Newburn gets as the book goes on, and how he’s losing control of both his emotions and the situation, which is then neatly resolved in the last few pages where he looks professional again. It’s the last panel that’s fantastic on multiple levels. I’m not going to ruin it, but I will say the way his face is half in light and half in dark is just the perfect representation of the character as he walks the line of good and evil, and it could go either way.
Another incredibly strong issue from the team, and I can honestly not fault it. The series might not get a perfect rating from me for the reasons I’ve spoken about in all my individual reviews, but this issue is the pick of the bunch and I can’t fault it. A triumph of crime noir storytelling that caps off a debut series for the team earns 5 POPs out of 5. Cannot wait for the return.
Newburn issue 8 will be released on 22nd June from Image Comics and available at your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.