Pride & Joy
Garth Ennis is well known for mixing genres to get a new spin. Just a Pilgrim was a sci-fi western; Unknown Soldier mixed The X-Files with a Rambo-esque super-soldier; and Preacher has more crossed genres than we can think of - a western road trip with vampires, Christian mythology and ultra-violence. Pride & Joy follows the same vein, based on the traditional thriller but with good dashings of horror, romance, comedy and a little sentimental claptrap.
Ennis's traditional storytelling tools crop up all over the place, with strong language, plenty of blood and his use of flashback to flesh out the characters as he goes along. Unfortunately, as has happened with his previous shorter works, the characters are too flat and don't get enough time to expand into individuals. As a result you're left with stereotypes: the sulky teenager; the bright, charming eight-year-old; the hero (haunted by a shady past); the Laurel and Hardy crime duo; and the mad-for-revenge psychopath who's after the lot of them. Ennis chooses to keep them close to predictable type and it does the book few favours.
Higgins's artwork is varied throughout the title. His cover paintings, taken from each of the original four comics that make up this book, are flawlessly beautiful - as photographic and atmospheric as movie posters. But the illustration of the story itself has a tendency to slip in terms of quality every now and then.
For a crime thriller there's little heart-pumping action, the characters are flat and the plot is predictable. Ennis lifts it briefly in places, mostly with a deft comic touch or some grievous wounding; but it isn't enough to lift this far above average.
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DC Comics (US)