Scene of the Crime doesn’t exactly stall out this issue, but it definitely goes into idle. Not sure why I’m doing car references, possibly because of an ill-advised speeding car sequence, which artist Michael Lark visualizes too quickly. Our hero, Jack, has just been to a hippie commune where he’s gotten in trouble, a la Philip Marlowe (or The Dude), and he and his P.I. buddy have to make a run for it. The issue’s been building to them going to the commune to question the prime suspect. When they don’t, it seems like the revelation is going to wait. Instead, Jack gets a talkative visitor to get us to a cliffhanger.
The issue’s lost the San Francisco personality. Not just with the road trip to the commune, but it’s rainy this issue of Crime and rainy Lark (with Sean Phillips inks and James Sinclair colors) overpowers the location.
Writer Ed Brubaker’s got some decent moments. The best—technically speaking—is when Jack and his aunt talk in exposition dumps to help him along to the subsequent investigation scene. It’s a neat trick, though a little obvious. The supporting cast doesn’t get much personality in this issue, not those related to the murder, not those in Jack’s personal life. His ex-girlfriend reappears, and he has a profoundly narcissistic conversation with her, something Brubaker definitely isn’t doing intentionally. Again, Scene feels very much of its time.
Right down to a jackass hipster P.I. being homophobic while wearing a fedora in 1999.
It’s been so long since I’ve last read the series I can’t possibly remember how it finishes (the end reveal tosses most of Jack’s working theory, and the reader isn’t privy to anything more). I’m convincing myself two was the peak, however. I do remember really wanting another series, something they never did, but in addition to it being a 1999 comic, a 1999 me wanted that sequel.
Even with the lackluster issue, it’s not bad (just problematic). Rainy Lark is glorious, and Brubaker’s got some of the better narration going.
Maybe it’ll end just fine. As long as there aren’t more hippie communes.