Friday, July 17, 2015

Review - Gravedigger #1 (@ActionLabDanger)

"I've been framed. Like Elvis on black velvet."

Having a fling with the boss' daughter is one thing. Having a fling with a mob boss' daughter is an entirely different thing that will likely end with your life at risk. That doesn't stop Gravedigger McCrae in Gravedigger #1 from Action Lab Entertainment Danger Zone. The issue is written by Christopher Mills and illustrated by Rick Burchett.

Framed for the murder of a mob boss's daughter, "Gravedigger" McCrae is on the run in a South Florida paradise, pursued by a relentless crew of killers. His pursuers think tracking him down will be easy, but Digger McCrae is particularly dangerous prey. Gravedigger is a master class in hard-boiled comic action.

Gravedigger McCrae is something of a suave action-hero and Mills presents him as such through the recounting of his dalliance with a mob boss' daughter. The majority of the issue is spent bouncing back and forth between present and past, with a bit of McRae's backstory mixed in as a means of giving the reader more insight into what makes him tick. Despite the jumpy nature of the work, Mills does a good job of keeping the pacing evened out and not letting it get too crazy, giving the reader plenty of time to catch their breath amidst the foot-chases and hotel room fights. McCrae exhibits all of the characteristics you'd want from such a character and all of his qualities are displayed via his dealings and interactions with the other characters.

Grounding the work in the noir atmosphere is Burchett's black and white style. The style effortlessly accents the sheer brutality of the action, all of which Burchett handles with relative ease. McCrae is convincing as a man about town, showcasing a toned physique and striking looks that work wonders for helping him to get his way. The south Florida setting acts as another character in the caper, providing ample opportunity for McCrae to blend in with the locals and take in a few sights along the way. The relatively safe panel layout promises that the reader will know exactly where to go next in following along with Burchett's rendering of the action.

Gravedigger #1 has a classic sensibility that is amplified by the plot and artwork. McCrae seems to constantly be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, but it's pretty clear by the end of the issue that there's no other way he would feel comfortable. Mills' script is straightforward and slick, introducing all the players and unfolding very cleanly. Burchett's illustrations are strong and tap into the tone quite effectively. Gravedigger #1 is a fun first issue that's not your typical superhero fare with a character intent on constantly getting in trouble.

Gravedigger #1 is in stores now.


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