“So here’s the deal. Everyone’s got a story to tell, and most of ‘em ain’t good for nothin’. Now, I ain’t tellin’ ya this to scare ya, but, eventually, you get old enough and the bad tends to pile up and outshine the good.
When bad things happen to good people, there’s only a few ways it can go.
Some people, well, they just crumble, while others, they become strong in their broken place. Then . . . then every so often, somethin’ will happen to a person that shatters ‘em so bad there ain’t nothin’ of the person left-
Nothin’ but shards- bits and pieces that are just faint recollections of a life lost. When that happens, that’s when you get — “
Okay, I make no secret that I’m a big fan of noir stories, but the vintage, hard-boiled detective/sassy dame genre and the modern reimaginings of it. So, when Carver: A Paris Story came across my desk, I didn’t know what to make of it. Is it new? Is it old? Is it even noir?
Well, the answer to all of those questions is an unequivocal “Yes!”
Briefly, Carver is a man on a mission: to help the dame that probably done him wrong, and nothing is going to get in his way. Right there is all you need to know to pull you in. And, once you get pulled in, you’re going to be in for a wild ride.
Carver has all the elements you need for a story like this. Hard, jaded, often underestimated by his attackers, and with a foe who wants nothing but to make his life hell. Creator Chris Hunt captures the genre perfectly with the clipped dialogue of the hero and the stingy and interesting way he parcels out story details. Calm and self-contained, Francis Carver is the opposite of Stalker Lee, the nemesis seeking to ruin him. In fact, we learn as much from Carver’s silence as we do from Stalker’s masked chattiness.
Chris Hunt hits all the right notes in this opening chapter and wisely keeps his tale in stark black and white, often eschewing backgrounds in most panels to keep the focus where it belongs: on his compelling story. His framing often recalls the very noir films that inspired it, from the lush shadows of the villain’s dive to the smoky atmospherics of his Paris flat, and that’s a great lore to draw from, giving him a vast palette to play with.
“What do you do, Monsieur ‘Carver?’”
“Me? I’m an artist.”
“Then, where did you get all those scars?”
“From women who ask too many questions.”
Verdict: FOUR Black Pearls of Paris out of FIVE