Ruffians #3

Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Ruffians #3 Creator(s): Brian Canini
Publishers: Drunken Cat Comics
From: USA
Price: US $1.50

A word of warning, if you haven’t read the first two instalments orf this on-going story line then don’t start with #3. It really is a continuing story that you have to follow step by step if you are to get any satisfaction from your read.

In fact I recommend that you read all 3 editions back to back as together they tend to build up a head of steam which is severely derailed by the breaks between editions. Having said that it is always nice to see a small press publication actually get to #3 and beyond, we need stamina and commitment like that folks.

Canini has persevered with the cheaper black and white cover but the fact that it is a single frame does ensure that it has some visual impact.

The guts of this latest instalment [excuse the pun] is in reality one long and very bloody fight between two non human hit men who have been ‘serving the same market’ for some time. As a result they are not exactly the best of friends. So when the violence starts it really kicks off and we have guns, knives and a lot of blood, pints of the stuff in fact.

The only real breaks we get are the flashback scenes that explain the animosity between these two creatures as well as the reasons behind Scar’s [the dog] anger, that being the murder/ assassination of his good buddy Black Jack.

The sight of a large nosed dog brawling with a large ape like creature is intriguing and Canini does milk some of the humorous opportunities it presents well.

It certainly is action packed but I still have some reservations about the layout and general page design adopted by Canini. His adherence to a rigid frame shape [and often size] means that his characters often appear to be too tightly constrained within a small box. At times the action is a prisoner to the frame. Looing at a page one is reminded of looking art a consecutive series of frames from a movie reel, and the overall effect is quite cinema graphic. To the extent that some frames are very similar in angle and composition showing just minimal character movement.

Overall this comic is still precariously balanced; it needs to go somewhere fast or it runs the risk of appearing to be repetitively going over the same ground. Hopefully the ‘framing’ of scar at then end will provide this impetus.

In a Word: Gorefest.

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