With “Last of the Independents,” a Western-style heist graphic novel, Matt Fraction has gone from promising newcomer to writer at the top of his game.
San Francisco-based AiT-Planet Lar, headed by Larry Young, has branched into children’s fiction, romance and nonfiction recently. But the company reclaims its position as the Steve McQueen of comics with this gunshot blast of a title.
Fraction and artist Kieron Dwyer create a widescreen format comic in sepia tone that recalls directors Sam Peckinpah (“The Wild Bunch”), Howard Hawks (“Rio Bravo”) and Don Siegel (“Charley Varrick”).
Bank robber Cole Claudle is one score away from a fresh start. But when he, his girl, Justine, and his friend Billy make their move, they find an unexpected $8 million.
Instead of a small score that no one will notice, this heist draws the attention of the mob, who had sent the money to the small bank to be laundered.
Fraction and Dwyer should get some serious option money from this project, which begs to be filmed. But, as usually happens in these cases, the book will be better, and this book is very good.
From car chases to horse racing to fisticuffs and gunplay, “Last of the Independents” brings the action nonstop.
A definite contender for graphic novel of the year, “Last of the Independents” is a full-speed guy movie with plenty of fights and explosions — but lots of heart, as well.
Fraction’s previous work, “Rex Mantooth: Kung-Fu Gorilla,” was serialized in the comic book “Double Take” and was collected as “The Annotated Mantooth” from AiT-Planet Lar.
Dwyer, whose career has moved from popular superhero work (“Captain America,” “Avengers”) to his own peculiar brand of humor (“LCD,” “Black Heart Billy”) has found a good middle ground here — fast-paced action together with visual panache.
“Last of the Independents” is a 96-page original graphic novel with a cover price of $12.95.
- Matt Price
Need to finance your business? Get a business loan today. Apply free!