Matt Kindt continues his fascination with classic detective fiction in this original graphic novel for First Second. Detective Gould has never met a crime he couldn't solve. But he is confronted with a series of crimes that seem both eccentric and random. A compulsive chair thief, an art thief who cuts masterpieces into small pieces and sells them, a novelist who creates a novel using stolen street signs: what can they have in common? Each short chapter is devoted to the story of one of these criminals, ending with the dialog of their interview with Gould.

The interviews are deeper than a simple discussion of the crime. They all involve questions about the meaning of crime, the law, and justice. Sometimes Gould is interviewing a third person, someone facilitating the criminals. Right from the beginning we see signs of outside involvement in the crimes. At the halfway point it already appears that there may be connections between them all.

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There's a woman named Carol Hixon who starts out re-purposing hidden camera pornography, which ties her to Brighton Diggs. When Diggs goes to jail she begins arranging photos of couples in conflict, by faking infidelity photographs, sending them to the wronged spouse, then photographing the resulting arguments. But Tess takes the cake when it comes to pulling other peoples' strings. She arranges a series of events--going back to the defacing of a stop sign near the beginning of the book--which culminates in the apparently accidental death of Detective Gould's wife. All of the other crimes have connections as well, even the theft of the town's electric chair.

Tess points out that she hasn't technically committed a crime. Gould is confronted with the difference between justice and the law...and makes a surprising decision. Ironically, his departure from the police department leaves the first unsolved murder in 10 years. We see Gould as a P.I., and he is now proactively trying to prevent crimes from happening instead of coming up with brilliant solutions after the crime has been committed.

The book ends with one final enigmatic image. An old man is seen removing dirt from a construction site (with a red wheel barrow, which is also the name of the town). He brings it to his back yard, adding it to a huge pile which he must have been working on for a long time. Is it a symbol of Red Wheel Barrow's crimes, all of the crimes Gould could have prevented?

This sounds like something I would really like, but I'm just not a fan of Kindt's art.

I'm not crazy about his art, either; I wouldn't seek out anything he did illustrating for someone else. But it's part of the package with his creator-owned work, and I really like those stories. So I guess I've learned to like it, in that context.

Speaking of Kindt's art, he did a cool thing with the covers on this one. The front cover is a view into a diner. There are two people at a table in front, with the book's title above them, like a sign with the restaurant's name on it. On the back cover we are looking out to the street from that table, and the title appears in mirror image, as it would look from the inside of the diner. Both covers show some of the "strange crimes" being committed, which of course you wouldn't know until after reading the book. Clever!

I actually love Kindt's art, but not as much as I love his writing (when he's writing his own stuff), and I would really like to read this one. I think the only reason I haven't is because I read his Super Spy works, Three Story, and Revolver all at once, and I got kind of tuckered out. All three were incredibly well done, but too much of a good thing is just that.

I wanted to read Underwater Welder, I just got distracted. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

And truly, I have a hard time in my mind separating him from Jeff Lemire, whose work I came upon at roughly the same time. At the time that I was reading Kindt's work, I was also reading Essex County and The Nobody, and then I read only two volumes of his Sweet Tooth, but never got caught up with the third volume forward.

I thought these guys were AMAZING when I first read them, then I got relatively caught up and then it was enough for me at the then-present time. One day I plan to get around to their works once again.

WS said:

And truly, I have a hard time in my mind separating him from Jeff Lemire, whose work I came upon at roughly the same time. At the time that I was reading Kindt's work, I was also reading Essex County and The Nobody, and then I read only two volumes of his Sweet Tooth, but never got caught up with the third volume forward.

I thought you might since Underwater Welder is Jeff Lemire.  photo biggrin.gif

HA! Well, go figure.

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I thought you might since Underwater Welder is Jeff Lemire.  photo biggrin.gif

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