In Issue 4 of Assailant Comics' gritty, noirish serial killer tale, writer Chris Charlton has thrown open the gates of hell and pulled his main character (and us) into it, kicking and screaming.
With a creative depravity that equals Hannibal Lecter in sheer inventiveness, Charlton’s dark creation, the Vulture, combines his pathology with a wicked sense of mythological homage, and, in this issue, the reason for his grisly trophies becomes more clear . . . and insidious.
Charlton raises the stakes dramatically with this penultimate issue, stripping away everything that matters to Drake, in essence, “purifying” him for the confrontation to come. Examining the darkness inside of Drake, Charlton storytelling delves deep into the cost of knowledge
A little knowledge is dangerous. More can be life threatening. Threads come together. The dance between hunter and hunted is drawing to its conclusion. And, like all great noir stories, he’s deftly bringing it all together in a dizzying descent into the blackness in men’s souls, darkly illuminated by artist Hollenbach’s moody, oft-times chilling expressionistic layouts. Of particular note are the two opposing setpieces of the raid on Luciano’s warehouse and Drakes awakening in a stark bathroom. One is drawn in shades of darkness while the other is posed against the stark light, both masterfully executed and chilling in different ways.
“I start to radio in for backup, then catch myself. Old habits. Finding Patty will be enough to clear my name. I don’t need witnesses for the rest.”
“A cage is too good for this bird.”
Verdict: FIVE vintage Black Mask Anthologies out of Five