Friday, February 27, 2009

Trade Marks: Johnny Dynamite - Underworld

This 2003 TPB reprints the 1994 Dark Horse miniseries by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty, the demi-gods behind Ms. Tree. Johnny Dynamite, that wonderful Spillaine-inspired Pete Morisi character is in his glory here: inhaling cigarettes by the carton while dishing out the first person narrative, painting a great picture of crime in Chi-town. It starts with a dead dame in Johnny's bed. He seeks vengeance and before you know it, we've got a Faustian deal and a bunch of Romeroesque shamblers causing trouble. There's some good humour here, some tips of the fedora to old school Hollywood and Vegas. The only real catch for me was infusing a crime book with a supernatural element. I got my head around it, but it really didn't fit with the overall tone of a Johnny Dynamite story. It's a novel idea (at least it was back in '94 - not in today's zombie saturated world), but I'd have rather seen a more traditional story. For those of you who like your noir with a dash of the undead; this one's for you. If you prefer it with a couple of fingers of scotch, it may leave you scratching your head just a bit. One last thing, I wish they'd kept this red tones from the original series. This one is straight up black and white. Trade Mark: B+


Argo Plummer said...

When I picked this trade up a few years ago, I did so not because I was familiar with the character--I had never heard of him before--but because of my affinity for the Collins/Beatty team.

Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed it both times I have read it.

Good pick and accurate grade.

Izbot said...

I agree that the supernatural element didn't quite fit Johnny Dynamite. It would've better fit a revived Ken Shannon story.