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I finally finished the Outfit, a crime revenge novel by Richard Stark that has been adapted and illustrated by cartoonist  extraordinaire Darwyn Cooke. The story is a simple story of revenge that follows Parker, a career criminal who is trying to escape the reach of the criminal organization The Outfit. When the Outfit keeps after Parker, he decides to end it once and for all.

For readers who are familiar with the tropes of any revenge or crime story, they won’t find anything out-of-place in this book, but what they will find is a beautifully drawn and incredibly creative book that breathes life into a familiar tale. Think of Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven as a comparison. Cooke matches the familiarity of the crime/ revenge story with his 60’s art style that he is known for, but he changes his style when it comes to explaining how the Outfit garners all its profits. Each new style is unexpected, but while it still harkens to the different 60’s art styles, it becomes unique and fresh, and turns a repetitive portion of the story into an anticipated read.

Cooke illustrates a smokey atmosphere that melds panels together, creating movement to an other wise static medium. It’s Cooke ability to create motion in his work that makes him a master story-teller, and makes this book more than just the average crime/revenge tale. It becomes a book you want to read.

I recommend this book to an artist looking for great example of story telling, as well to anyone looking for something similar, but a bit different at the same time.

Panel Flow

Kyle Lawlor

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