|Silence & Co|
By Gur Benshemesh & Ron Randall
Crystal Productions, 2013
Now to be clear, the story is cohesive, the stakes clear, the action straightforward. But it strains, if not outright breaks, the suspension of disbelief. Silence & Co. hire Alexander, who is a family hitman and not a free agent, but whatever, and offer to pay him the completely unbelievable sum to coordinate the hit on the drug-lord, when it becomes obvious that Silence & Co. are more than capable of handling the operation themselves. The operation itself is this insane over-the-top military assault featuring attack helicopters and dozens of paramilitaries. The story, which started out as a promising noir about a disillusioned hitman becomes this ridiculous and completely unnecessary wargasm. And then naturally there are double crosses and a pretty girl Alexander refuses to kill. See, the pretty girl is the mistress/accountant of the crime boss, so that somehow makes her a civilian, and Alexander doesn't kill civilians, although he does kill lots and lots of worker bees in the crime organization, but she's a pretty girl so she gets a pass. Oh! And also, not only was Alexander a military special forces officer but he was ALSO some kind of secret super-hacker for the government and at one point he creates some kind of superworm that infiltrates and wipes out the computers of some crime organization that's been around for centuries. And despite being a known assassin he's given control of an Internal Affairs sting on an FBI senior agent. And then there's more double crosses. And then, and then, and then. And then. Sometimes too much is too much.
Ron Randall's black-and-white art is decent, though there is one silly splash page that seems like something swiped from a Kirby Sgt. Fury issue. His stuff is stronger in the straightforward noir scenes but can't quite live up to the inanity/insanity of the war-stuff. Randall doesn't receive any kind of cover credit which is frankly unacceptable. I guess Benshemesh - who has not previously written anything and is also credited here as "producer" - paid for everything and is publishing it himself, but that doesn't make you the sole author, dude. There are also odd bits about the final product, like the needless use of quotes within the narration captions and the use of asterisks with explanatory captions noting that the characters are speaking Spanish in every single word balloon that characters speak Spanish. Amateur foolishness like that almost seems like a parody (not to mention easily caught production mistakes like comas where apostrophes should be).
Silence & Co. is a self-published vanity graphic novel from a writer who is not frankly ready for prime-time. Maybe if he held back and did a New York crime story instead of throwing all that spaghetti at the wall it would have been a stronger work. In the first few pages I honestly thought the comic would be a nice follow up to fill the void left by the superb hitman graphic novels from Europe, The Killer. But in the end I was just left thirsting for more of the subtle, psychological international thrillers in Matz & Luc Jacamon's killer Killer to clear the bad taste left by this repeatedly sharkjumping mess.
Silence & Co. will be released to comic shops on May 29. For more visit http://www.silenceandco.com