Sunday, February 10, 2008
“When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”
— Frederich Nietzche
The Killer is a haunting, graphical masterpiece that explores the intricate and intimate minutiae of a killer’s mind. Writer Matz and Artist Luc Jacamon excellently depict the inner conflict of guilt and conscience trumped by seemingly forced rationalization and self-justification in the mind of a professional killer. Not since Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment or Nabokov’s Lolita has the journey into a man’s mind been both so eloquently and brutally intriguing.
Luc Jacamon’s artwork is absolutely brilliant. Jacamon’s simple and deft pencils and inks emphasize the contradiction of the simplicity of his line work and the resultant beautifully complex and highly detailed artwork. Moreover, the lushly hued pages display a color palette rarely seen in most modern comic books. The muted and understated colors gently accentuate and breathe life into the book’s characters.
Matz’s journey into the nameless title character’s inner being is an exploration of a man’s heart spooned out and discarded with each kill. He has no scruples and no morality. There is a hair-raising sequence in the story where the killer contemplates true friendship. Lonely...isolated...detached. His only “friends” are the victims whose lives he has viciously and abruptly cut short by savagely murdering them. He rationalizes that they were his closest friends because he knew everything about them as is wont for preparation of his contracts. Ironically, he knew everything about them, but they knew absolutely nothing about him.
The killer’s one true friend is an individual who had shaped him into the man he is today. Perhaps his closest and most enduring relationship in his life, Eduoard is driven to a guilt-ridden suicide. He can no longer take the murderous lifestyle he leads. The message is clear to everyone except the killer himself: money isn’t worth a poisoned conscience, a hardened heart or a blackened soul.
The Killer is a European import that is arguably the best comic book on the market today. The evocative artwork and personally intimate narrative provide a disturbingly unique perspective on morals gone fatally askew and a conscience slowly melting away.
(Note: this review originally posted in my column, "The Whirling Spinner Rack" at www.ComicCritique.com)