Christos Gage’s new graphic novel, “Sunset”, is a difficult one to review. Overall there hints of brilliance contained within the pages, but the book falls just shy of the mark. All the components of a good crime caper are there and more than enough bullets fly to keep action fans satisfied, but if you crave something with a little bit more depth than you might be disappointed.
WRITTEN BY: Christos Gage
ART BY: Jorge Lucas
PUBLISHER: Top Cow/Minotaur Press
RELEASE: July 11
The premise is fairly simple, enforcer Nick Bellamy looks for an exit strategy to leave the mafia and devises a plan to go out with one last big score. He succeeds in extorting millions and sends his former employer to prison for 25 to life in the process. Fast forward 30 years into the future, and Bellamy is living in the house with the white picket fence, when his former employer is freed from jail and sets out to kill Nick and everyone he loves. Now in order to save everyone he cares for, Nick must got on a murderous rampage to ensure his past is gone forever.
At times “Sunset” feels more like it was a screenplay that has been adapted to work as a graphic novel and there is still a few rough edges that could have been sanded down. Gage does a great job of establishing all the major players and gives them the motivation, but fails at making the reader truly care about the characters.
There is a great scene at the beginning of the book where lead protagonist Nick Bellamy’s wife is murdered, but her loss is glossed over in order to continue the break-neck pacing of the story. The action sequences are fantastic, but the overall story could have benefited from more character development. Giving the readers more of a reason to care whether or not the characters live or die would have given the story the knockout punch it needed.
The artwork by Jorge Lucas (“The Darkness”) perfectly captures the grim and gritty feel that a book crime book should have. His use of heavy blacks within the artwork gives the book the crime noir style that it needs, but Lucas’ style is much more modern so it also mixes in some of the hyper detail Top Cow has been known for to give it the best of both worlds. For the backgrounds Lucas mixes in photo-realistic images of the Las Vegas strip, which transplant the reader right into the heart of the City of Sin where the action takes place. The art on this book is very reminiscent of Michael Bendis’ “Jinx”, but with more detailed line work.
“Sunset” achieves what it set out to do; tell a crime noir story. “Sunset” is akin to the blockbuster action flick that hits the spot for a fleeting moment, but fails to deliver the “Oh my God!” factor that leaves readers with their jaws on the floor.
Reviewed By: Big J