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‘Carver: A Paris Story’ - Advance Trade Paperback Review

’I’ve been following you since your Belle Wood days.  Tell me - were you truly prepared to fight all of these men with just your fists and a short blade?”
“No.  I planned on grabbing a bottle of whiskey and clubbing some of them to death with it.”
“Outstanding!“

Paris, 1923.  The Great War has been over for 5 years, and everyone is reveling in the Jazz Age. Everyone except Francis Carver, back for the first time since he left six years earlier to fight in the War.  Back bearing a guilty soul, a distinctive scar, and a heavy legend… “The Bloody Marine of Belle Wood.”  Brought back by letter from the one woman he can’t forget and followed every step by the Paris Underworld.

Collecting the five issues of the series released earlier this year by the innovative Z2 Comics, Carver: A Paris Story reaches its full fruition in this combined volume, giving us the chance to see all at once how the dark scope of writer/artist Chris Hunt’s intriguing story comes together. 

Part moody noir and part raw macho thrust, Chris Hunt’s Carver takes us on a journey drenched in darkness through the underbelly of Paris after the Great War.  Hunt’s stark, bold lines render the City of Light dismally gloomy, a firm underscoring of the themes he’s drawing on.  This isn’t just a story about the ghosts that haunt us, this is more.  It’s Hemingway by way of Tarantino, with larger-than-life villains with more story under their masks than we first believe.

From the oddly-Southern gothic flavoring of catalyst Stacker Lee’s introductory monologue, to the bloody “job interview” to the oddly, yet fittingly light, ending, Chris Hunt continues to play cat-and-mouse with us, revealing soft and unexpected sides to his main character before slamming that door shut again.  Carver’s legend draws both respect and envy, but ultimately proves to be more hindrance than help, until he learns to embrace it and make himself whole again. 

Hunt teases Carver’s return in an upcoming work, and it will be interesting to see where he takes his bloody warrior next.

“Guess this is it. No retreating now.”
“Retreat?”
“Hell, we just got here.”

“If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.”
-Ernest Hemingway


VERDICT:    FOUR Bloody La Vie en Roses out of FIVE

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