FEATURES : COLUMNS : REVIEWS : NEWS : FILM & TV : FORUMS : UGO

ABOUT




New Doc Ock Hits Spider-Man
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Marvel Hires New Publisher
Following such rumors, Marvel today announced that Bill Jemas has been replaced as Publisher. Now read who took his job.
CrossGen's Solus #7
CrossGen thinks you'll love George Pťrez's new issue of Solus. And to prove it, here's a five-page preview.
Marvel Searches For She-Hulk
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Scott Kolins reunite for Marvel's Avengers as they search for She-Hulk.
Virtex Returns For Digital Webbing
A comic about a cybernetic cowboy that hunts outlaws riding dinosaurs? Where do we sign up? Read on and find out.
Marvel's Mutants Gains New Penciler
Marvel's New Mutants has a new artist onboard, and we've got a five-page preview. See if he's got the chops.
Image Rocks Out With Shangri-La
Are you ready to rock and roll? Image is, with their upcoming graphic novel Shangri-La. Read the details here.
Marvel Teams Up For A Good Cause
Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk team up for charity in a special December one-shot. Read all about it.
Davis' Marquis Returns In December
Guy Davis' sin-slayer is back in The Marquis: Intermezzo, coming from Oni Press. Read all about it.
Marvel Unveils '04 FF Plans
Marvel plans three Fantastic Four series for 2004, and we've got the details and preview art. Check this out.
2F2F DVD Contest
The hit street racing film 2 Fast 2 Furious is driving to DVD players near you. Win a free copy from Slush and Universal.
 








Comic Review:
Hotel Harbour View
By Matt Martin

02.10.03


Viz Ė Natsuo Sekikawa (w); Jiroh Taniguchi (a)

Iíve owned this book for about three months now and Iíve held off on reading it until just this past week, when I broke down. I didnít avoid it because I was afraid that itíd be bad. No, I kept my distance because I knew it was going to be great. And I also knew that when it was mind-boggling good, I would feel compelled to write up a review for it and that, for me, is a bad thing. Why? Because no matter how much I tell you to go out and buy a copy, thatís going to be a difficult task for you: this book is out of print.

And I am telling you, if youíre a fan of crime fiction or film noir (anyone see a theme starting to develop this week?), do what it takes to track this book down. It is absolutely amazing.


Article continued below advertisement


Self-loathing is a common theme in a large portion of contemporary American crime fiction (just ask James Ellroy, his novels are living proof) and Sekikawa proves in this graphic novel that it isnít a concept that those authors have a monopoly on: it is the central theme to both of the stories that comprise this collection. In turn, these two stories are tied together by a shared central character: one female assassin named Mariko.

In the titular opening story, a businessman arrives in Hong Kong to escape trouble on the mainland (or so he claims). Drinking himself into a stupor, he awaits the arrival of a prostitute, who he then pays for the services that working girls are known for, as well as the chance to amateur pornographic photos. Pillow talk with the girl reveals that he is awaiting a confrontation with an unknown hitman (or hitwoman, I guess, in this case) and that it is his intention to test his skill with the gun or die trying.

A good portion of the panels in this first story are establishing shots, static images the city and its environs that evoke the mood of the story so well that one can imagine a slow, mournful sax being played in the background, as though ďHotel Harbour ViewĒ were a film noir rather than a manga version. In the end, the twist is revealed: the man isnít a rogue agent from some shadow government. Heís an administrator at the Ministry of Trade, a man who simply and tragically was stricken with cancer, a man who loved guns and paid an assassin to ensure that he was able go out in a blaze of glory like a gangster in a movie rather than an emaciated patient in a hospital bed. The entire story is an elaborate game of Russian roulette, as the eponymous manís revolver is drawn first, but the gunís hammer finds only an empty chamber.

In the second story, ďBrief Encounter,Ē the lack of self-respect is even thicker, as the story revolves around a quest to win that feeling back. Mariko is featured again; only this time she is the central character of the story, rather than simply serving as the source of conflict. Hired to kill a man, she realizes that he is someone with whom she had a brief romantic entanglement several years prior to the story. Again the use of establishing shots is heavy and Taniguchiís art shines as he displays a wide range of emotions through his charactersí dynamic facial expressions. Here, however, those shots are often overlaid with narration, Marikoís inner thoughts expressed on the page, silently willing her target to recognize her face and remember their encounter as she shadows him through his day-to-day life.

I just canít say enough good things about this book. The stories are classic, worthy of the great of prose crime fiction. And the atmosphere here is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The two shorts told herein would be great no matter who penciled them, but I canít imagine a more fitting artist than Taniguchi after having seen his performance. Again, if itís at all possible, go out and track a copy of this book down. For Godís sake, I found my copy in a fifty-cent bin.

Final Grade: 4.5/5

 

 
E-Mail Author  |  Archive  |  Tell A Friend

 

 



 
Sword of Dracula
Slush launches our Halloween countdown with the first in a series of spooky reviews. First up? New series, Sword of Dracula.
John Byrne's IMO
This week John points out that fans cannot read the minds of creators, although you wouldn't know that by listening to some of them.
The Dead Zone
Flesh-eating zombies battle the last remaining police officer in Image's new series, The Walking Dead. We review the first issue.
Steve Niles Interview
Slush interviews Steve Niles, the acclaimed writer of 30 Days of Night, who tells us about the relaunch of Fused.
A Spidery Preview
Have you seen the new Doctor Octopus, designed by fan-favorite artist Humberto Ramos? Click to dig the Doc.
Kill Bill Review
Slush reviews the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's kung fu slasher masterpiece, Kill Bill.
Viper Interview
Slush takes a look at new publisher Viper Comics, and interviews the guys behind two of its hottest books.
Peanuts Collected
Cartoon fans rejoice. Fantagraphics is reprinting the entire collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts. Read on for details.


CHANNELS:  Features | Columns | Reviews | News | Film & TV | Forums | Slushfactory.com

Copyright © 2003 Slush Factory Entertainment (E-mail)
All Rights Reserved : No portion of Slush may be reprinted in any form without prior consent