Review - Ten Grand #1

Ten grand is a decent amount of money. It could be a car, part of a down payment on a house or a really, really, really nice watch. For some people though, the amount holds greater meaning, in that it's a way to see your loved one, if for only five minutes. That's the situation in Ten Grand #1 from Image Comics.

The first issue is written by J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Ben Templesmith and lettered by Troy Peteri.

Joe Fitzgerald is something of an angry man with a penchant for taking everything personally. He moves from one seedy bar to the next in an even seedier city, one rife with decay and despair around every corner. Relying on his history as an enforcer, Joe has leveraged that talent into taking any job offered for ten grand. His latest job involves Debbie and her sister Sarah, the latter of whom has taken up with a religious cult called Divine Will, the leader of which is James, a man Joe is all too familiar with.

Straczsynski’s writing is really well done. He presents Joe as almost a hero of sorts amidst a town full of villains, motivated by the death of his wife Laura and fighting for the chance to see her again. He does a great job of interweaving the present with the past, showing both a more optimistic Joe and the subsequent gritty Joe. The premise of taking jobs for the same price of ten grand is also pretty interesting, really hitting home the fact that he's or less going through the motions in life.

Templesmith is the perfect artist for the work. His style is very dirty, really helping the bring Straczsynski’s writing to life. Joe's world isn't pleasant and reading the book you're really dragged into it courtesy of Templesmith's illustrations and colors. The palette changes with Joe's "mood" and helps to keep the reader grounded and aware of what's happening in his world. There are a lot of rough brushstrokes polluting the panels, their harshness as harsh as Joe's life.

Ten Grand #1 isn't a pleasant book, but it is an enjoyable read. The pairing of Straczynski and Templesmith works really well together. Joe Fitzgerald's motivation is sound and it will be interesting to see where it takes him and how his past has mixed with James. The book has something of a Constantine feel to it and Joe is just the person to deal with angels and demons on a daily basis.

Ten Grand #1 is available now with interiors below.