Review - Tattered Man One-Shot

One of the comic industry's more prolific duos is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly, bringing you works that are gritty and require you to think twice. Their latest collaboration is a one-shot from Image Comics called Tattered Man and features art by Norberto Fernandez and lettering/design by Bill Tortolini (covers by Fernandez and Amanda Connor with Paul Mounts).

The book hit stores yesterday. And yes, you should go back to check it out.

Tattered Man focuses on a few main characters and ends with even fewer. Zeke, David and Danikka are junkies looking to score on Halloween, but the man they've chosen to rob to satisfy their craving proves to be more than they bargained for. Through this robbery the reader is taken back via flashback to a concentration camp in WW2 Germany.

It's very sobering to see the events depicted in the camp. Sure, we all know our history and I'd wager that most of us have seen Schindler's List, but it's still chilling to be confronted with the callous regard for human life exhibited by the Germans at this time. It's from this immense anguish and pain that the Tattered Man is born, serving as a conduit for vengeance against those that have pure evil in their hearts.

It's easy to say that Tattered Man is a story of redemption. In fact, that's exactly what the Tattered Man seeks from his hosts- redemption. The mechanism for delivering redemption is what's most interesting here. Two of the characters are given shots at redemption in the book and both have the "choice" thrust upon them due to circumstances beyond their control. That's what Tattered Man really seems to want you to see. People can be redeemed if there's even a sliver of humanity in them. If you're committed to hurting others then you deserve a different redemption.

The art by Fernandez lends visual grittiness to the story, really hitting home the idea that ill-will is met with even iller will in most cases. It's a somber story for sure in its own right and, as I mentioned earlier, it's tough seeing the camp exterminations laid out. Their inclusion serves a purpose other than shock value and Fernandez successfully gave you even more reason to revel in redemption thrust upon the Germans.

The issue is a double-sized, one-shot, which means that it's not a series. Yet. Clearly, Palmiotti and Gray have future plans in mind for the Tattered Man and his endeavors. Essentially, there's a TON of story crammed into the one-shot and these could have easily been longer. The fact that it's a one-shot does something of a disservice to the story though. It's paced well, but the character development moves at a pretty breakneck pace. There are questions about some of the characters that you want answered that just aren't, primarily because the issue is short.

Tattered Man will remind many of DC's Ragman and there's even a hint of Spawn in there as well. It's a classic story about finding a required, perverse solace in helping those that need help. These individuals chosen by Tattered Man are redeemed, but their redemption often comes in the form of their death.

The book should be in stores now and interiors are below.