Happy 34th birthday to writer Matt Fraction, currently chronicling the adventures of the Uncanny X-Men and the Invincible Iron Man. While Fraction’s a big-shot Marvel writer these days, my favorite work of his is the heist drama “Last of the Independents” from AiT-Planet Lar.
Here’s what I wrote about “Last of the Independents,” by Fraction and artist Kieron Dwyer, when I named it the top graphic novel of 2003:
Influenced by guy movies such as “Unforgiven” and “Charley Varrick,” “Last of the Independents” features bank robber Cole Claudle, just one big score away from retirement. When that robbery is much bigger than expected, Claudle finds himself fighting the mob and trying to keep himself and his friends safe long enough to escape.
If you want to experience the Fraction oeuvre, here’s a handy top 10 list of my favorites.
1. Last of the Independents
2. Immortal Iron Fist: With Ed Brubaker and David Aja, Fraction reinterpreted the Iron Fist mythos into a first-rate kung-fu thriller.
3. The Annotated Mantooth: A zany spy comedy with a gorilla and a giant robot. Back when I worked behind the counter in my comic-book store, this was a go-to sale.
4. Casanova: Casanova Quinn is thrown into the life of a double agent following his twin sister’s death. “Casanova” is a Steranko-esque, 1960s-style, over-the-top adventure.
5. The Invincible Iron Man: Fraction writes a cool, suave Tony that should fit right in to people’s perceptions of the character following the Robert Downey Jr. movie.
6. The Five Fists of Science: A steampunk graphic novel which features Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison.
7. The Order: A short-lived Defenders spinoff that featured the superhero team assigned to California as part of the Initiative project.
8. Thor: Ages of Thunder: Fraction looks at Marvel’s Thor as related to the Norse myth cycle.
9. @HoboDarkseid: Not a comic, but Fraction’s goofy twittering as a hobo Darkseid was a reminder that the man is flat-out funny.
10. Uncanny X-Men: While it’s tough to bring anything brand-new to a franchise like the X-Men, Fraction has done a good job of making it seem fresh while still honoring the past.
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