Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Tom Fowler
Winick’s Caper is one of the new breed of
comics: a 12 issue limited series broken into three stories
linked only by theme and genealogy; Three different artists
tending to the facets of one writer’s vision.
first tale followed two Jewish underworld enforcer brothers
in 1906 San Francisco through cold-blooded murder, vicious
turf wars, and personal vendettas. The second joined the
same family two generations later in the midst of 1970’s
Hollywood sex, drug, and murder scandals. With issue #9,
the third story kicks off two more generations up the Weiss
family tree, where the saga enters the present day.
Rayburn Weiss’ caper begins with him and slacker sidekick
Calvin Richard Coolidge screaming like little girls, flailing
their limbs in the faces of men in black packing major heat,
and running as fast as their adrenaline-pumped bodies will
move (for three solid pages) before Winick does the comic
book equivalent of a midair freeze frame and informs us
they’re just “guys” who happened to get
in a lot of trouble because of one little package.
to the day before, when Lou was still just an organ transplant
delivery man, rushing much needed eyes and kidneys around
the San Francisco Bay Area on a moment’s notice. Richie,
perennial tag-along that he is, begs Lou to take him on
the day’s run and manages not to screw anything up
until he notices the ice-box their delivery is in weighs
too much for it to be human eyes. But should they open it
to be sure?
first two Caper storylines were so strong and vivid,
it’s understandable that this modern-day arc would
lack the punch those unique settings had. Present-day San
Francisco is… well, present-day San Francisco. Certainly
one of the most fascinating American cities, in many regards,
but seeming so mundane in comparison to its 1906 counterpart
that the story comes to weigh heavily on its main characters.
they really are just “guys." Not too smart, not
too brave. They sit around watching Star Trek reruns,
complain about the numerous editions of Army of Darkness
floating around on eBay, live boring lives, and take comfort
in the fact that, for the most part, they’re decent
I don’t see how comic fanboys would identify with
Caper has delved into so much period art, history,
and pop-culture, you gotta ask what’s so special about
a modern-day crime story from the same team. When Winick
does his homework, it’s pretty hard for him to go
wrong. Hell, for the most part his writing just sings. But,
this time around, it’s all about some everyday characters
caught in the middle of something way bigger than themselves
(and Richie’s a pretty sizable man, too). He may have
proven his ability in this arena with Green Lantern,
but Caper is about as far from superhero as a main
line DC book gets. Putting all the weight on character and
dialogue like this is a risky venture that doesn’t
much as I can fret over the story, the art leaves me with
no qualms whatsoever. Tom Fowler’s characters deftly
straddle the picket fence between caricature and realism.
Their nuanced expressions (which are amazing, considering
these guys only seem to feel fear and fatigue) squeeze every
drop of excitement from the script. His inks are nice and
juicy, and Guy Major’s coloring team once again lovingly
fleshes out a new era of the Caper saga.
jumping-on point, this isn’t the most promising chapter
in the story, but there’s still room for the material
to expand, so Caper loyalists definitely shouldn’t
jump ship just yet.
Wait for the TPB.