Advance Review: The Killer: Modus Vivendi #1

By | May 5th, 2010
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Matz and Luc Jacamon’s title The Killer from Archaia Comics has been a favorite of mine as I read through the first two volumes of the series in collected form, but I’d never had the chance to read it in single issue format. The idea of this troubled me, as so much of the beauty and power of the book comes from the cohesive narrative that steadily builds throughout the individual entries into each volume.

Now, the prodigal pair from France have given me the opportunity to read one of their volumes of The Killer without being able to read it all in one fell swoop. The new volume kicks off today, as The Killer: Modus Vivendi #1 is being released nationwide in comic stores everywhere.

The question is…how’d it work for me? Find out after the jump.

The Killer: Modus Vivendi #1
Written by: Matz
Illustrated by: Luc Jacamon

From the beginning, the titular killer and protagonist of the story has underwent major changes in each volume. While that’s natural growth for any character, for a hitman to start out an island unto his own self and to gradually welcome in friends and a potential family to the picture is a critical and possibly deadly alteration. That was just what happened in the first two volumes, and now with the launch of the third volume we’re getting into even more foreign and dangerous soil.

It seems our “hero” has gained a wife and a son and taken four years off from his occupation, but he hasn’t lost the itch that comes with it. With that in mind, he contacts Mariano, his contact for his former employer as well as quite possibly his best friend.

What that leads into is a trio of hits that, on the surface, seems disconnected and innocent enough (for an assassination) until the third target is revealed: a revered nun in Colombia named Madre Luisa. This seems askew, even to a man with no issues murdering children and senior citizens, and it leads The Killer back to Mariano and his father Padrino in hopes of figuring out what exactly the situation is.

In standard Matz fashion, this is all handled with a real sense of atmosphere and pacing. Matz is meticulous in the way that he sets up scenes and plots. This helps tighten up the story as a whole as well as wrenching up the tension in scenes where the wheels begin falling off The Killer’s bus. The plan behind each story is tangible, as you can almost see the puzzle pieces he’s creating on the pages but you can’t quite put together the overall picture yet.

Another thing I really enjoyed from Matz and artist Luc Jacamon in this issue was his scene design for the assassinations themselves. While the first hit was more of a straightforward notion, the latter was one of the more cleverly designed ones to date and something that really stood out overall. The concept of taking an already stolen car and using it to create a hit-and-run death of his target in his home country was remarkably planned out, and ties into the fastidious nature of our protagonist.

Even if you have no interest in the plot, this book is always worth a purchase to view Jacamon’s wonderful art. The man is a superstar, as his work often reminds me of an evil, hyper focused Hayao Miyazaki. That might come across as a reach to some, but there is something that just reminds me of Miyazaki when I read it. His ability at scene design and the level of detail he weaves into scenes is nearly unparalleled, and it makes any scene a lush and vivid realization. You do not get cheated by any effort Jacamon gives you.

France is well known for producing some of the best work in the genre that hired killers live in. They’ve been known for it for years, thanks to the efforts of people like Luc Besson. Matz and Luc Jacamon’s work on The Killer lives up to some of the best that country has created in that genre, and The Killer: Modus Vivendi is another marvelous addition to its ever growing legacy.

Final Verdict: 9.0 – Buy

David Harper