Based on the screenplay of the movie of the same name (AKA Tom Boy), this book from Titan Comics “Hard Case Crime” label certainly doesn’t lack for audacity or absurdity.
Frank’s quest of revenge is almost complete, trailing The Doctor who operated on him, leaving him less a man and not quite a woman, by taking out the lower rungs of the ladder. Still, you should always be careful what you wish for as in this case, every action can lead to the destruction of everything that Frank thought wasn’t important with the whiplash of reaction.
The original story was written by Walter Hill and Denis Hamill before getting the adaptation treatment from Matz. Not having seen the film I can’t say anything about the veracity of the scenes and characters. That is actually good thing, as it means I come into the review with no preconceptions. As fans of Hard Case Crime comics will expect, there is plenty of violence and sex on show in this book. In addition, there is the idea about gender identity that understandably raises its head and is yet almost unforgivingly ignored, used for the aforementioned sex and the threat of sex and very little else. There will be those who will lampoon this book for the way the writers actually show the transgendered, enforced in this story, and there will be those who say the book harkens back to the excesses of the 80’s, where practically anything went. I am not sure where I stand to be honest. Looking at the book, it’s a revenge book, nothing more, nothing less with the operation that changes Frank being the hook. What happens when a hitman becomes a hit-woman? The monologue sounds world-weary and despite the lowlife’s she encounters, Frank doesn’t seem to be affected by the tally of goons she takes out.
The art is by Jef works well within the book. It’s a painted affair with dirty, grimy color schemes to on show throughout. The framework on Frank is done well, through a number of scenes and panels, even going as far as to show Frank in some pretty masculine poses as she continues on her mission. Where I will say there could be improvement is on the faces of the bit players. Sure they are in the story for just one reason, but still they deserve the same level of attention to detail as given to Frank. As it is, these faceless few are neither mourned or missed as they serve their ultimate purpose.
This story purports to be a dark tale, but when you take a step back all you are left with is a revenge tale about a gang of unlikable characters. True, the level of violence and nudity may be a buying point for some, but overall, I am left with a bitter after taste. Surely, we can create comics that feature the gender issue without having to resort to the lowest of expectations.
Writing – 2 Stars
Art -3 Stars
Colors -3 Stars