HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

The Gray Area #1
Writer: Glen Brunswick
Artist: John Romita Jr.

Ah, the detective comic. The gritty, dark, detective comic. Don’t see many of those, these days, do ya’?

The Gray Area follows dirty Detective Rudy Chance as he brokers drug deals, bosses around the mobsters he trades with, turns down the hooker with a heart of gold who falls for him (not because he’s a decent guy, mind you; he’s just in it for the action), and does just about everything else he can to make us downright loathe him.

Of course, like all heels, Chance has a thoroughly decent partner who admonishes him for cheating on his wife just before Chance chides HIM for not being able to pull the trigger since that one time he shot a kid (which, I think, makes for the fourth cliché in 11 pages, but who’s counting?).

However, life catches up with Chance in a hurry and, after raising rates on the local mob boss, he soon finds his idyllic vacation spot in the Hamptons littered with the blood of his wife and child.

Two months later, what’s the first thought that crosses his mind? “Someone is gonna pay for this…”

Yessir, never saw that coming. Never saw that coming at all.

I have to admit that this book isn’t as awful as it could be, but it’s filled with so many clichés and such trite elements that I feel no need whatsoever to pick up the next issue. It probably doesn’t help that this one ends in such a way that we have no idea what the next issue’s going to be like, but the one thing we can count on being the same is Chance, and, well, I just don’t like Chance. I don’t hate him either, and that’s bad.

The concept behind the title is that Chance is neither pure evil nor pure good. He’s supposed to be a soul caught between the extremes. The gray area. Only problem is chance ISN’T in the gray area. He’s a bad guy. Nothing he does is for the greater good or helps anyone but himself.

And, Ayn Rand’s philosophy of the goodness in selfishness aside, heroes are ultimately altruistic and often selfless. Rudy Chance doesn’t do anything that isn’t directly for his benefit and hurts everyone he meets. Bad guy.

But not TOO bad. Not the kind of tragic hero that we can’t take our eyes off of. Just bad enough to not fit in “the gray area”.

Glen Brunswick’s story finds some nice beats, but the majority of it feels old hat. It probably doesn’t help that the “Making Of…” material taking up a third of the book repeatedly makes note that the concept was Romita Jr.’s and Brunswick was invited along to flesh it out. Seeing the sketches, I can agree that Romita Jr.’s work is powerful and carries a lot of the story, but Brunswick’s words don’t always mesh with the images and sometimes seem redundant.

As a three-issue mini, it probably wasn’t the best idea to use the entire first issue for an origin story. The book just isn’t complex enough, and, by the end, we still can only guess at what’s going on with the cover. This looks to be a story of redemption, so I can go for the duality theme it suggests, but the glowing left hand and evil robot-eye thing sticking out of his chest are another matter.

And, much as I can appreciate Romita Jr.’s penciling, Klaus Janson’s inking just hurts. He takes work similar to what we’ve seen on Amazing Spider-man and makes it too scratchy and sloppy by half. With some pencils, that isn’t a kiss of death. However, Romita Jr.’s work looks messy without decent inking to flesh it out.

Inevitably what it all comes down to is the price tag, and, at $5.95, The Gray Area just isn’t worth it. If larger, more expensive issues are your thing, do yourself a favor and pick up DC: The New Frontier, instead. If you want to support a great new creator-owned title from Image, read The Walking Dead.

Leave The Gray Area to sycophantic Romita Jr. fans.


Jason Schachat

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites