Rating: 4/5 – Max Collins’ Marine Sniper turned Hitman Transitions to Comics
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
Titan Comics’ ‘Hard Case Crime’ imprint continues to impress me with their latest offering, “Quarry’s War” by award-winning crime author Max Allan Collins. Collins’ Marine sniper turned mob hitman has had a long history that I was completely unaware of until I read the backmatter in this issue. He has starred in 13 novels, a short story, and has had one season in live action on Cinemax. Now he’s debuting in comics.
Collins splits the narrative in this issue between Quarry staking out a target for a hit in Chicago (July 1972) and a sniper mission in Vietnam (July 1969). The story jumps back and forth between the 2 with the Chicago plot playing out on the even numbered pages and Vietnam on the odd ones. Personally I found the jumping back and forth annoying so after a few pages I read the Vietnam story all the way through and then jumped back and read Chicago in one go. Quarry is an interesting character, cut from the lovable rogue cloth. Even though he’s a paid killer, that is what he was trained to do by the US Government, so it was his chief marketable skill upon returning from the war. The art by Szymon Kudranski is clean and clear, but also felt stiff and a bit sterile due, at least in part, to the lack of background detail in most panels. But the star of this comic are the characters and story. The art doesn’t get in the way of that, so it’s doing its job.
If you’re a fan of crime comics that give you an insider’s POV, this should be right up your alley. If you have read any of the numerous Quarry novels, you might well enjoy seeing him ‘brought to life’ visually in the comic. It’s working the reverse way for me: I was unaware of the character and I really enjoyed the story here, so I just purchased the first few novels. I’ll be giving those a read to learn a lot more about Quarry. That, plus I’ll be back again next month for more of this story that’s fleshing out Quarry’s early days, both his time in Vietnam and his early days of working for The Broker as a hitman for the mob.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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