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Review – Darwyn Cooke’s Big SCORE
Just in time for San Diego Comic-Con, Darwyn Cooke’s latest adapatation of Richard Stark’s Parker novels, The Score, hits the stands today, and you would be well-advised to hit the stands today yourself. Darwyn Cooke has blazed a trail through the comics industry since he bailed on animation back in the late ’90s, but if these adaptations do not go down in history as his greatest works, I’ll eat my hat.
It’s been a while since I’ve read the original The Score, too long a while indeed. But as usual, Cooke brings his own style to this story, the caper wherein Parker and a dozen other guys attempt to rob a town. Not the town bank or post office–the whole goddamn town. Of course, as will often happen in the Parker novels, Parker ignores his instincts to walk away from the job when he should have and the whole plan goes ker-flooey. But as also often happens in the Parker novels, the guy does not let that stop him.
I really don’t know why, but Darwyn Cooke’s stuff never really did it for me before. It could be that he became big during a time where I wasn’t paying much attention to superhero comics. And then when I returned to the Big Two with gusto, he was still doing stuff for DC that I wasn’t super into, like Catwoman, for example. Even when he did a one-off issue of the late, lamented Jonah Hex title written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, I didn’t feel that his otherwise impressive artwork effectively captured the character. But these Parker adaptations, man–these are what Cooke was born to do. His cartoony style, oddly enough, perfectly fits these stories of the hardest thief to ever come down the fictional pike, especially given the wholly accurate ’60s feel his art wears like a comfortable suit. The pacing of his storytelling is exactly what Stark (né Donald E. Westlake) would have enacted had he ever written comics, I feel it’s safe to say. It’s scarcely any wonder this is the only adaptation of these stories that won Westlake’s seal of approval before he died a couple years ago.
The only bad news is that Cooke will be doing just one more adaptation of Stark’s work, 1971′s Slayground, slated for publication with IDW next year. Perhaps we’ll luck out and Cooke will knock out another shorter work in the interim, like he did with the pamphlet-length The Man with the Getaway Face, which appeared before The Outfit. But until then, buy and ingest The Score today, if you really love yourself. I know I do.