Writer(s): Brian Buccellato.
Illustrator(s): Alexis Sentenac.
Colourist(s): Alexis Sentenac.
Letterer(s): Maximilien Chailleux.
Publisher: IDW Publishing.
Release Date: January 15th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Crime, Mystery.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
When the going gets tough, do the tough really get going? In a world where the opportunities to embrace vice are just an inch away from us, it’s no surprise that we see many succumb to dark desires, whether it is for simple exploratory reasons or a debut into a completely different lifestyle, it is nonetheless one that might not exactly be called law-abiding. In an effort to revisit the classic noir stories that are relatively rare nowadays, two comic book creators look to highlight the lowlights of some of the dirtiest and crooked individuals living in the heart of one of America’s most popular and historically-rich city.
What is Lowlifes about? Throwing us back into the days where Los Angeles rhymed with corruption, American writer Brian Buccellato (The Flash, Sons of the Devil) and French artist Alexis Sentenac (Assassin’s Creed, Siberia 56) join forces to write the story of three lowlifes who seek redemption or destruction through morally ambiguous decisions and actions. From a revenge-seeking cop to a haunted thug, there isn’t a person in the City of Angels that lives his life within the boundaries of the law as they search a way to satisfy their deepest and darkest desires while clinging onto their best sides.
It’s rarely ever a good sight to see a hero fall into the tempting traps of villainy as they get tangled into a web of self-destruction. In Lowlifes, you follow a good cop who struggles with the justice system after being unable to serve justice to a criminal who got away with raping his wife. This is where you witness his descent into the underworld as he does business with the wrong people to get the dirty things done. While the story was unexceptional yet addictive, it remained predictable and struggled in terms of originality. A lot of the intrigue remains simple to the eye of the accustomed, and the short length doesn’t help its case as the pacing was too accelerated to fully embrace the evolution—or should I say de-evolution—of the characters.
Without any surprises, the artwork is entirely set in a darker tone, close to sunset-colours to capture the sinister atmosphere of the story. The character designs are decent although some facial expressions are a bit too creepy to fit the context. However, artist Alexis Sentenac does a decent job of working with Brian Buccellato’s ideas. The faster pacing that was due to the shorter length is not always ideal for the story’s development but it does give way to an easy-to-read tale where all the events ricochet into one another until you finally connect the dots by the end.
Lowlifes is a decent crime story where redemption is sought through criminality while happiness is tainted by the means taken to attain it.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!