Ruffians #2

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Ruffians #2 Creator(s): Brian Canini
Publishers: Drunken Cat Comics (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $2.95 - 1.50(US)

I found the first edition of Ruffians [and yes that is a very nice pun] a little disconcerting in the way it married a ‘cartoonish’ main character with a darkly violent storyline. Despite my reservations I still found the opening chapter of this ongoing title intriguing and I was therefore keen to see what the second instalment held in store.

The most obvious immediate development between the two comics is the fact that number two is considerably cheaper due to the fact that Canini has done away with the colour cover, in fact he has done away with the traditional cover altogether preferring to get straight into the action.

And action is an appropriate word to use when describing Ruffians #2. The 16 pages on show here revolve around Scar [the dog hitman who is trying to track down the killer of his friend Blackjack] visiting Malt a large gorilla cum Yeti type of creature and trying, unsuccessfully, to use violence and accusation to extract a confession from Malt that he is the killer.

The comic opens with Malt coming home with the shopping to find an armed and angry Scar waiting for him, and ends with Malt holding a gun to Scar’s snout and about to blow his face off when ‘someone’ enters. Canini then has provided a very effective cliff hanger of an ending for us, who is the mysterious visitor who has interrupted proceedings? Only #3 will provide us with the answer

So what we have is basically one extended argument interspersed with acts of violence and the occasional witticism as these two characters do battle with word, fist knife and gun. The witty comments are good too and example being when Malt ironically comments on arriving home to find Scar sitting in his front room on a comfy chair pointing a gun, “I see you’ve made yourself comfortable.”

As the storyline develops it is becoming apparent that Scar despite his confidence is a little bit out of his league, and the sordid, violent world that he inhabits is, in reality, a little bit bigger and more complex than he realised. How this idea is developed is enough reason alone to maintain my interest and encourage me to keep a keen eye out for #3.

Many of the reservations outlined in my review of #1 still hold true for #2. All too often the characters still appear to be too big for the frames that contain them and as a result there is still a very crowded feel to many of the pages. The opening page being a prime example of this.

In a Word: Dogged.

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