Script: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Howard Chaykin, Jesus Aburto, Rachel Deering
Publisher: Archie/Dark Circle
Release Date: 10/28/2015

Back off a summer break, we catch up with Greg Hettinger who looks to recover from the trials and tribulations of “Bullet’s Kiss”. But the darkness of Philly threatens to cloud the sunny skies of Southern California, where evil is definitely more than just skin deep.

Duane Swierczynski is back as well, continuing to weave a pattern of challenge on the path to recovery for Hettinger, who still seems to need the comfort of the hood, regardless of the progress he has made, forgoing one set of rules for another.  With Hettinger writing a letter, allows for a greater sense of monologue, displaying a realistic style of plotting alongside a strong script, garnered from a wealth of noir influences.

This issue features a surprise, with guest artist the great Howard Chaykin, whose style fits this book brilliantly.  I love Chaykin’s work, from Start Wars #1 to Black Kiss to Satellite Sam, the latter two aimed at a more mature audience.  Therefore it’s fantastic to see his work in a more standard type of book.  The realistic approach serves the book well, in this instance, the lack of a the typical Chaykin sex kitten means that there isn’t an easy way out, making Chaykin worker harder and the results are brilliant.  Chaykin is more than ably aided by colourist Jesus Aburto, who provides a painted look to the Chaykin’s work, so often seen in black, whites and shades of grey.  The result is outstanding.

Reading the book its hard to see the Swierczynski that suffered on Birds of Prey.  Instead stands a writer whose work would, you would initially think, suit Detective Comics which is the thinking mans Bat book.  Upon reflection though, I think that would do Swiercynski a massive disservice, as  without the tie to a brand like mytho, allows him greater freedom to explore true depths, both good and bad in his characters.

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