Well, I remembered the twist ending of Beware the Creeper, but without the problematic, reductive, low-key, passive misogynist, ableist context.
For a while, it’s a surprisingly good issue. Writer Jason Hall has finally gotten his bland white guy police detective narration down. Not for the resolution epilogue, of course; there’s nothing to be done with that section but the opening. Except when the death of the cop’s favorite—sincerely favorite, not in a creepy way—prostitute is an afterthought. There’s no room for it, since Creeper’s not a mystery.
It’s not a mystery; it’s not a character study (Madeline is barely present, save a great scene with Hemingway); it’s not a history lesson. It’s a sometimes admirable effort, with excellent art from Cliff Chiang—though even he can’t make the conclusion work—and okay writing from Hall.
It’s not successful, but it’s also not exactly a disappointment. Since I remembered the twist, it couldn’t disappoint me again. If I were going in cold… well, again, I’m surprised I’ve been remembering this series with such a fondness. Even leaving out the twist and how much it changes the previous three issues, there’s also the lack of character development. The willful, manipulative lack of it.
And the French cop is too bland a narrator.
Hall tries for a melancholy last moment, tied into the lost potential of “The Lost Generation,” but it’s a complete fail. Despite being on top of the Eiffel Tower, it’s one of Chiang’s least successful scenes in the issue.
The book’s got such a weird finish. If it were a movie, you’d swear they’d reshot it. But Beware the Creeper was always five issues, and if they didn’t stop now, they’d have had to go much longer, and Hall doesn’t have the story for it.
Ernest Hemingway cameos, amusing or not, aren’t something you do when you’ve got the story cracked.
Anyway. Good art. Sometimes okay script.