FOOLKILLER: FOOL’S PARADISE
Writer(s): Gregg Hurwitz
Artist(s): Lan Medina
Publisher: Marvel MAX
Published date 2007
A man down in his luck goes through a catharsis that leads him to become a vigilante. The Foolkiller.
When I pick up a Marvel book under the MAX imprint, I expect a decent violent book. Often I am disappointed, but I am glad to report that I wasn’t with this comic.
Now, I’m pretty sure Marvel has no room for another Punisher (although some die-hard fans of old Skull-chest may strongly disagree) in their ever-expanding universe, and that is what this character has turned out to be. But why spend time reviewing an imitation? Well, for starters we have to give kudos to the publisher for treating it the right way: With a limited series and a TBP, that will present us with another Punisher more infused with a sense of poetic justice, a la James O’Barr The Crow. I think DC has a whole line for this, called Elsewhere Worlds, don’t they?
This Foolkiller was penned by LA Times scribe Gregg Hurwitz, and his treatment of this character at this time (2007, time of publishing) makes me think that he is not a comic connoisseur, albeit he is a good writer.
Together with Medina, they manage to make a feat rarely seen in comics: A comic for one of the big TWO, not feeling like you usual comic from one of the big TWO (and that, gents, is a pretty decent compliment). Hurwitz throws away all the previous incarnations of this character, the psycho Everbest and the ex-con Salinger, and decides to treat this character a new, like a newborn.
The script takes its time building up to the introduction of the main character, and then he only appears fully in issue 2.
Any other writer in a comic for the big TWO would’ve lost his audience half way through, but here the writing is solid, and what the writing lacks, the art more than makes up for.
This Foolkiller is more a novelist’s anti-hero. The explanations through this book are well laid-out, and the action is sparse but effective. A typical symptoms of a writer who is more used to (or prefers) a novel format in which he can elaborate on context, and character development, rather than the quick, action-filled pace of the American superhero genre.
The second issue is entirely devoted to the telling of the title-character’s origin story and it is full of ups and downs and sideways. Here there is no single event, no radioactive spider, no picnic in the park in the middle of a mob hit, no murdering of the parents in a darkened alley… The hero moves up and down, like a twig in amidst the waves in a thunderstorm, and the art that Medina regales us with conveys every step of that tumultuous journey.
Sometimes you don’t mind some cliché conventions as long as the degree of craftiness invested in creating those clichés make it worth your while.
In this case, it really surpassed my expectations, and I wanted find out more, with the turning of each page.
Now, my reasons for praising this while everyone else remained indifferent is that I found a new Comic-scribe and a wonderful artist both of them succeeding at expanding their wings. It is like finding a branch in which two different types of chrysalides are turning into beautiful but distinctly different butterflies.
Other more “casual” readers may find the story predictable and boring. I give you that, and that’s why I felt it was important convey why I kept this TPB in my shelf instead of putting it up for sale on e-bay.
There are too many comic artists with good intentions who lack skills. There are too many writers who have technique, but don’t have stories to tell. These two had the intentions and the skills, and did something worthy with a boring/predictable character and that has a lot of merit.
So, on my Critics rating, Foolkiller: Fool’s Paradise gets