Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Jacob Phillips
In an ironic twist this issue Newburn’s biggest problem is trying not to take a job for the cops. That’s right he’s trying to avoid investigating the murder of a police officer. As he is employed by all the major crime families of the city he can’t be seen to be working for the police, the mortal enemies of organised crime. Except he’s between a rock and a hard place without much choice. This puts him and Emily in a very difficult position and provides different dangerous waters to navigate.
In a way doing this is more dangerous than dealing with the crime families since, as Emily points out, the Police Benevolent Association is like a crime family that can operate in the daylight. This brings all sorts of problems to Newburn and by extension Emily. Unlike Newburn she’s more vulnerable to the vagaries of crime politics. Once again though we see Emily has little choice but to trust him.
Things get dangerous. There’s some really nice action as Newburn faces off against some goons. There’s some solid onomatopoeia to help give things a visually audible kick. There’s Newburn’s fighting stance and then some really nicely drawn action as he elbows a guy in the face. There’s some really nice red backgrounds in a couple of panels too, which nicely reflects the violence as Newburn really doesn’t take any prisoners.
I also really liked the couple of panels where Newburn forces a guy backward onto a glass table breaking it. You can see and feel the movement. It’s really excellent action work. I would say that the apartment fight is probably my favourite part of the issue, We’ve seen that Newburn has skills but the fact he takes out a whole bunch of goons I think says much about how dangerous he is. This is the dirty fighting Newburn. A different side to the investigator.
There’s also some nice atmospheric work with the confrontation as Newburn meets with those responsible for the cop’s death. It’s quite noir with rain, and greens and black making up the colouring. It’s also interesting that we reply on Emily’s narration from her journal to really get the solution to the crime and the implications. It really helps having those little insights as it just helps expand on the gravity of the situation for the reader. It’s more insight into the world.
There’s a nice little twist as to how Newburn gets out of things, though you have to ask how much longer can he get away with crossing the line? We didn’t get a lot of Emily. She does play a pivotal role in parts but she does seem a bit more absent. I think that’s why her narration was even more important. The focus this issue was really Newburn as we see more of what he is capable of.
This was a short but solid issue. It felt short as there’s really only a few scenes but those were both written and drawn well. It was good to see more of Newburn’s different skills and we get more insight into the thin line he walks, with Emily there along for the ride. We are right there with them. The question is how much longer can they balance on that line?