March 2017. Like. FIM 27.95. 128[+8] pages. 175×265 cm. Cover: matt color. Guts: Color. Hard Bound. Transl. Jouko Ruokosenmäki. [id]
Luke Cage is a cool, well build dark skinned hunk who hates to work for free. But in the very beginning of the story he ends up to investigate for a few bucks a death of a young girl. Soon he realizes that in slums are hidden a fortune: it’s in the middle of war between three gangs.
I was never really into Brian Azzarello’s stories, but like Banner Cage is a story about extremely muscular protagonist. Since Cage is among other things a bulletproof, you can call him as well as a superhero.
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire was the first leading superhero with black skin having a comic book titled of his own. Azzarello’s version of him is a modern street gang aware bounty hunter. And as he is a bad ass and a cool hero, a young actor, Nicolas Kim Coppola choose to take his stage name after him.
Azzarello’s version of Cage is a well known One Man Standing story by Walter Hill, acted by Bruce Willis, which is a reincarnation of the storys of A Fistfull of Dollars by Sergio Leone, and Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa. All of them were based on the book Red Harvest by Dashiel Hammett.
As a dirty and crocked backyard story the sandy broken color work by José Villarrubia is brilliantly supporting the shady mood. Side streets were filled with graffitis and filth and there is pollutioned and unclean air. Luke spends much of time to look at his reflection from mirror. Mr. Villarrubia did the surface of looking glass old and hazy as you can expect.
As a successful and handsomely tuff bounty hunter Cage is clever and cunning. He has his ways to collect all information he is needed. During story he’s on nobody’s side and the same time on anybody’s side, if they are paying enough of money. Cage is also a hunk; for certain there is broads around him. This time a Korean bartender.
Finnish translation bears all five cover arts from the original series. You can find all five cover sketches as well. Two of sketches were never realized and two of covers do not have a sketch.
The chosen covers describe Cage’s world perfectly: knuckle-duster for his violent work and background (sparks of knuckle-duster and his golden tooth form a fence – he is an ex-con); bulletproof body for superhero abilities; broad for his success with women; chains in his angles and handcuffs in his hands behind his back for his past; and golden teeth for big money (he is dealing with big money but he does not own more than what he can carry with him, his teeth).
Richard Corben has always been a perfectionst. Like for example Robert Crumb he is drawing constantly. You can see it from his art. He does not prefer stuck on one style but explore new fronties. I know lately he’s been stuck with black line art and other artists has been coloring his work but that is rather necessary switch in his carea. He used to be one of the slowest color work arts. But what a perfect colors he used to make. But let’s face the reality. This is the style he is at the moment.
With black line art Mr. Corben has explored the fronties you can with it. His pages and single frames are perfect. He does not prefer simple solutions for his comic stories. And Cage is no exception for that. Camera angles are changing constantly and you can find yourself looking scenes from unexcpected positions.
Jouko Ruokosenmäki has made a good job for translation. Finnish edition as whole is a nice package. It’s Hard Bound and the size of exactly same as the original comic book series was. You can find an article for the backgrounds for Luke Cage comic books from early 70’s, all cover arts and sketches as I mentioned before, and an article colorist Jos’e Villarrubia wrote after coloring Corben. In the end of the book locates the promo material Mr. Corben did for marketing the story before it was found it’s present outlook.
A fine book indeed to have in between other Richard Corben books I have!
– SidSid Keränen
Copyright © 2017 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: May 20, 2017. Last updated: December 25, 2018 at 13:00 pm