Gravedigger #1

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2004
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Gravedigger #1 Writer(s): Christopher Mills
Artist(s): Rick Burchett
Publishers: Rorschach Entertainment
From: USA
Price: $3.50 (US)

We are firmly in film noir territory with this tale of Digger, a long in the tooth criminal just out of prison and looking for the mythical final score that will fix him up for retirement. His greed makes him disregard his better judgement and join Red (a loose cannon) and his team for a hi-jacking that could set them all up... in more ways than one.

Hard boiled crime stories don't seem to be too popular in comics at the moment unless the writers go for parody, so it is nice to see one that plays it straight for a change. Digger is the central character and we get to see his view of events via a crisp narration that avoids purple prose. The story rattles along at a brisk pace, perhaps too much so. This issue crams in the set-up, execution and fall-out from the hi-jacking so quickly that it devalues the characters. Their actions hold not dramatic impact because we know so little about them aside from what cliched they belong to: The aggressive young punk, the blond temptress, the big silent goon. The plot itself is a predictable and enjoyable tale of double crossing crooks being lead to their death by a beautiful dame.

Rick Burchett's artwork makes up for the shortcomings of the plot with stylish character designs and interesting use of a 'wide-screen' effect by having the pages in a landscape format. Christopher's work on the grayscale toning is effect with it's very dark pallet mixed with the occasional sparse white panel adding emphasis to key points.

In the interior art Digger bares a strong resemblance to Lee Marvin, referencing the hard as nails characters he played on screen and especially his role in Point Blank. This comic isn't anywhere near as original as that tale, but it is an entertaining diversion.

In a Word: Gritty.

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