The Killer is an English translation of a best selling French graphic Novel, Le Tueur. It is a story of a first rate French hit man that is suffering from a bit of a breakdown. After a botched hit, his world starts to unravel and the predator becomes the prey. The book is just like those gritty and moody French “noire” films, with brooding inner monologues and stark contrasting flashbacks. The story is told through the eyes of “The Killer” and does a wonderful job of establishing his raison d’etre.
Matz has done a stellar job of creating a crime noire (Hard boiled) style movie through the medium of the comic book page. The development of the main character is excellent, especially how his life begins to fall apart. In some ways it reminds me of “The Professional” in the way that the carefully crafted role of an assassin begins to fall apart after a series of events. The Killer has a lot of flashbacks, some of which hurt the story pace a little and others that seem to serve little more purpose than a political soapbox. The flashbacks are used to flesh out the character of the Killer and regardless of how they can take you out of the flow of the story they are an absolutely essential ingredient in why this book works so well. I am also pleased to report that there is not a hint of awkwardness of translation which is a really good thing.
Jacamon’s art is cartoony but fits the story like a glove. His choice of colors and panel layouts really helps to give a sense movement and drama to the action. I cant say his work reminds me of another artist but it somehow feels French to me. His choice of colours and washes help to guide the reader through the numerous flashbacks and I found the whole thing pleasing to the eye. It wouldn’t be French noire without violence and nudity and Jacamon does a great job of portraying both.
The Killer volume 1 is a great book for fans of dark, violent crime thrillers and the artwork is very distinctive. There are no extras whatsoever in the hardcover. ISBN-13: 978-1932386448. 8/10
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