Scene of the Crime (1999) #4

Scene of the Crime  4

The whole issue doesn’t rest on the action sequences, but it’d still have been nice if penciller Michael Lark had broken them out differently. There’s this very anti-climatic car chase, foot chase, car chase, shoot-out sequence, and it should have been better. Though it also doesn’t matter because it’s just the red herring ending. Scene of the Crime has like six endings. Half of them are also epilogues.

One of them has hero Jack telling his ex-girlfriend all his deep, dark secrets so she’ll give him another chance. I mean, I assume writer Ed Brubaker thought it’d be a good exposition dump scene, but it’s not. Crime is from before talking heads were a comics trope, so there’s this bewildering diner conversation scene. At one point, Lark’s angling from the adjoining booth’s napkin dispenser or something. The comic’s usually so precise in its composition, but not when it’s the big emotional pay-off.

Or it would be an emotional pay-off if Jack and the ex-girlfriend had any chemistry. Brubaker gives Jack five sidekicks in this issue. They all validate Jack, which makes functional sense in one way or another, but it’s tedious. There’s no reason for so many different people to hang around; well, not any logical reasons. A couple of times, it’s just so Brubaker can gin up drama or a reveal.

It’s an okay last issue. It’s disappointing; Brubaker’s big reveal scene’s got terrible dialogue, not to mention his attempts at going more extreme than Chinatown. There’s also some lousy characterization once the mystery’s done, real lack of continuity stuff. Okay… but disappointing.

I remember desperately wanting a sequel to this comic back when it first came out. Probably better they didn’t do one. That second issue was excellent, though.

The rest is take and leave, with way too much leave.

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