When I ordered The Hunter, I didn’t realise this was originally a noir crime novel from 1962, although in retrospect the title probably should have been a clue. That book also has three film adaptations, including Payback starring a pre-meltdown Mel Gibson. All I knew was that this was on a lot of random people’s best of the year lists for 2009, so I figured I’d check it out.
The main character is Parker, a criminal in 1960’s New York City, who was betrayed and left for dead by his partner and wife during a job to hijack a shipment of illegal munition in Canada. He’s back and pissed, he wants the cash, and nothing’s going to stop him until he gets it.
It’s a very basic story, essentially just enough to lay the framework for some relentless ass kicking and to give you just enough compassion for the character to nearly excuse how unlikable and cruel he is. The art style is as simple as the story, black and white and grey, but Cooke manages to tell so much with every panel. His characters are incredibly expressive and the panel composition very fresh. You can tell he worked as a storyboard artist before this.
He’s planning to come out with four of these books, last I heard. The first two are out, and I found this one to be fun, so I’ve already ordered the second.