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Friday, April 7, 2017

The Complete Jon Sable Freelance Volume 2 (Graphic Novel)

By: Mike Grell

Published: IDW Publishing (July 12, 2005)

Softcover 176 pages

Finished 4/4/2017

Amazon Listing

          The continued slam bang brooding action stories of Jon Sable, Freelance. This book collects issues 7 through 12 of the creator owned independent series. It further illustrates the adrenaline junkie nature of the main character. Whenever he is not risking his life or shooting people, he is a brooding wreck, questioning everything about himself. It is only when he is in the field does he truly come alive.
          The first story is “The Target”, a claustrophobic tale of Sable protecting a witness to a murder, the killer is naturally trying to shut this damsel in distress up. Granted the plot is one that we’ve seen over and over again, but it has some good action and an excellent ending. It also presents the reoccurring character of Jason Pratt. A former stuntman for Errol Flynn, Sable first met him while training for the Olympics fencing team. He is an interesting character, outwardly flamboyant, but very lonely in reality. He has no other friends and his family refuses to see him. Looking for a last hurrah, he constantly hounds Sable to include him in missions, with little success.
          “Murder is the Last Resort” is a mystery, where Sable is hired to find a thief and clear another damsel in distress of the crime. The story comes across as ho-hum, until the very end where we are smacked in the face by an amazing twist that immediately had me flipping pages to see what happens next.
          Building on the previous story, “Cliffhanger” has our hero accidently become involved in terrorist threats, back stabbings, and nuclear devices. I ripped through this one quickly, being enthralled in the tale. It certainly has the highest body count of any Jon Sable issue that I’ve read- if that interests you.
Author Mike Grell
          “Triptych” the fourth story is different from the others collected here. Not a blood soaked adventure tale, it is an introspective look at Jon Sable when he puts his guns down. It demonstrates his addiction to action, as he deliberately picks a fight with a gang in Central park for no other reason that he wanted to battle someone. This issue introduces the reoccurring character (this collection is rife introductions) of Gray Adler, possibly the first openly gay character in comics. Part of the tale revolves around the protagonist’s uncomfortability in dealing with a homosexual, whom he otherwise likes.
          In the final tale, we meet yet another reoccurring character Maggie the Cat, international jewel thief and the obligatory Catwoman to Sable’s Batman. They cross paths in Monaco where Sable is hired to protect a purloined Cuban diamond (don’t ask). The story is well paced and interesting, demonstrating Sable’s attempts to thwart multiple theft attempts and ultimately failing – oops gave away the end. Spoilers, I guess.
          This collection is important in the Jon Sable series as it cements the thrust and pacing of the issues to come and also adds a much needed group of interesting secondary characters, which brightens up the protagonist’s gloomy outlook. The action for these adventure thrillers is first rate. What always astounds me is how the author never repeats himself in this series. Not just in plot, but in the combat scenes he never uses the same gimmick or perspective twice.

           For more readings, try my collection of books. 

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