America. Proud, full of opportunity and wonder. Natural and man-made wonders that are her best face looking at the world and saying, “Here, I am! Here’s the power of my dream!” But, what about the dark side of freedom? The holes in the soul that opportunity can leave? The stories that you hear and are always ready to dismiss, because, “That’s something that only happens when things get out of hand.” What about the side of you that only an outsider can see?
Hermann and Yves H. do just that with their Trilogy USA. Three stories of three policemen, the working stiffs who live by the rule of law and enforce it as best they can. Yves H. takes three figures who exemplify the American police as we like to show them – tough, smart, unwilling to let go of the case, fighting against crime and the corruption that allows it to fester – and throws them into mysteries that stink more the deeper they go. Each of the three protagonists have their ghosts and carry on with their jobs even when it seems foolish. This tends to be the trait that we admire here at home, but it’s interesting to see it painted without being romanticized from an external perspective. It’s not being judged as right or wrong, just put out there without a slant to one direction or the other. It takes singular talent to put all of the elements Yves H. does without telling you exactly how you should feel about it.
Every step in each of the stories opens up more questions than answers, and especially for “Blood Ties.” The last panel makes you take note and rethink the entire story and is filled with such a gut-wrenching twist that it stayed with me hours after I had finished. “Manhattan Beach 1957″ features stories approached from every side, but no flawless glimpse of the truth. A tragedy in the classical sense. And, “The Girl from Ipanema” lets you see foul play carried out plainly, watching the haunted detective try to put the pieces together to find the culprits and save a life.
Each story is also tied to a song, some more than one, but each gives an idea of the flow and pace of the panels. If you aren’t familiar with them, I’d recommend downloading them once you come across them. It adds a whole other dimension and depth to what’s playing out before you.
This is a great book for anyone who digs a good mystery and doesn’t mind that some of the pieces get messy. There’s beautiful and brilliant artwork that stays well blended into the story, until it needs to take center stage, and manages to allude to gore more than show it, which makes the moments chosen to illustrate it fully that much more impactful.
Check this volume out when you have the chance. It’s a helluva ride.
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