J. Michael Straczynski teams up with Ben Templesmith for a new Image title you WON’T want to miss!
Ten Grand #1
Story by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Ben Templesmith
Synopsis: Joe Fitzgerald was a hit man for hire. Upon being killed, a righteous God sent an Angel to offer him a deal to earn his way into heaven to be with his beloved wife.
Good: This title opens up with a great first issue. The book combines classic noir story, mixed with a supernatural detective tale and it is a fine example of both. The book opens with our lone protagonist Joe Fitzgerald in a gloomy bar heading to drown his sorrows. After a few panels a bit of his back story is revealed: he is a hit man with a dark past. While this scene is immensely cliché at this point in pop culture history, Straczynski and Templesmith still managed to pull it off wonderfully. The character development of Joe Fitzgerald manages to keep you engaged and interested to find out more about him. Straczynski doesn’t come out and reveal everything in his hand immediately, he offers just enough to keep you hooked wanting to know more, and he manages to tell you this through Joe Fitzgerald’s internal monologue.
The other amazing part of the opening scene is that while it is just someone sitting in a bar, the art still manages to be interesting. Templesmith’s style is spot on in this book. It is dark, gloomy and gritty. It seems to be perfectly fitting for Joe Fitzgerald’s character. The use of color is another well executed feature in this book in that the dominant color is used to separate scenes depending on the mood of them light blue when Joe is reminiscing about his wife and harsh red when he remembers the evil that haunts him. The drawings and colors are also utilized well to contrast the good and evil supernatural entities in the book. In the scene featuring an angel, there is a palette of blues and loose lines used, and in contrast, later in the book there is a scene in which demons are depicted using rigid lines and dark reds.
A more unique feature this book offers is a free voice acted reading of the book. In one of the back pages, there is a QR code that can be scanned by your phone, bringing you to a narrated page, playable as an MP3. I thought this was a pretty cool feature to include in the book, and it was well done. The voice acting went along great with the characters, and added a further personification of them. I read the book through once on my own before listening to the voice acting, and the voices that they used seemed to be spot on with how I imagined they would sound. The MP3 also included some special effects for the angel’s voice, and some other background noises added to keep you in the scenes.
Bad: The only real negative to this title is that it does have some similar traits to books like The Crow and Constantine: a man and his significant other get murdered, and he has a chance to come back and set things right as a hit man for a righteous God. Other than those slight similarities, this title is nowhere near a carbon copy.
Another very minor negative was with the pace of the voice acting on the narration. I found it to be a little fast while going through the book, and at times, I didn’t get a chance to admire at the artwork in some of the panels of the book. I would suggest going through the book once before listening to the reading of it.
Overall: This titles premier issue was a fantastic start to what I hope becomes a very successful series. Joe Fitzgerald is an interesting take on a classical character archetype, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for him.