With the capentights books flooding the shelves, it’s always nice to sit down with a good ol fashioned noir story. Criminals. Guns. Murder. Mystery. Add a touch of supernaturalism, a pinch of suspense, bake for 15 minutes and you’ve got a tasty loaf of noir.
If noir books leave a funny taste in your mouth, you need to try Faerbers’ Near Death.
Near Death issue 10 continues the current story arc. Markham has been asked to protect a certain individual named Knox from a crime boss names Novak. In the midst of a gunfight, Knox takes a bullet to the brain, though not fatally. Just enough to graze, but also just enough to cause brain damage that renders Knox into a revenge-seeking murderer. Now, Markham must protect the man he was trying to avoid from the man he was trying to save.
The issue ends in a standoff resulting in a pretty fantastic, climactic cliffhanger. Typical of the series, which is a good thing.
Faerber understands the noir genre inside and out. There’s no doubt that each installment of Near Death is worth the read each month. Issue 10 solidified that notion. With the exception of a few panels in the book, Guglielmini and Riley nail the artwork, so not only does it read like a classic noir book, it looks and feels like one.
Dare I say it, but I truly wish Near Death was picked up for a television debut over Kirkman’s (still pretty cool) Thief of Thieves. Near Death features rather episodic installments each month, perfect for television.
It’ll be interesting to see where Near Death ends up on a few months. There’s still the overarching mythology, that supernatural element, still lingering within the pages of each individual story. Ex-hitman Markham, after being shot dead and descending to hell, is presented with an offer: he can return to earth so long as he begins a new crusade. He must save a life for every life he took. That’s a hell of a lot of people.
Will he ever redeem himself? Is there more to this trade-off than meets the eye? There are a number of questions to be discussed, and I’m very much looking forward to discovering the answers.