Tyler Cross: Black Rock is a new graphic novel from Fabien Nury, the writer of The Death of Stalin. However, don’t expect a satire of political intrigue – the only thing Tyler Cross has in common with Nury’s previous stories is a historical setting. Here we’re transported to 1950s America, when crime was rife, men were desperate and violent, and the law was riddled with corruption.
At the start of this brutal tale we meet Tyler Cross, a successful career criminal with 17kg of stolen heroin to sell. Entering a town run by a criminal family, he gets caught up in a series of events that, as usual, we’re not going to describe for fear of spoiling this book’s wonderful array of twists and surprises. Nury holds nothing back from the the plot: it’s an adrenaline-fuelled express train of a story, on a fast track to total carnage.
Brüno’s art is also very different to what we’re used to from a Nury collaboration. Here simple shapes, stunning use of primary colours and exaggerated characters deliver archetypes, rather than memorable, complex individuals, but it fits the tone of the story perfectly. Don’t expect sweeping American vistas; this is in-your-face personal – punchier than a prizefighter – leaving you reeling at the violence and fragility of men fighting over ill-gotten gains.
Think Tarantino; think Coen brothers; think Hollywood’s smartest, most brutal, most imaginative practitioners of intelligent, bone-crunching, edgy noir-ish thrillers. It’s a wonderful piece of drama that we can’t recommend highly enough. Enjoy.