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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Good Cop Bad Cop Casebook 3. Only Pigs and Horses Part 1. Jim Alexander (Writer), Aaron Murphy (Art), Chris Twydell (Art Assist), Jim Campbell (Letters), Luke Cooper (Cover Artist).Planet Jimbot (2016)

With the third installment of the story of the wolf in the police officer the story substantially shifts a gear, all the introductions have been done and the context is firmly established, now the story can really take advantage of the brilliant premise. Two police officers respond to a call and are killed, one of them is also savagely mutilated. The nature of the mutilation leads Detective Inspector Brian Fisher to have a conversation with an inmate in Barlinne Prison that may give him a lead.
Jim Alexander solves a very difficult story problem with considerable confidence and skill, the problem is how to build a story that stands by itself and at the same time advance the premise of the series without compromising either. Structurally the solution is very clever, the story is pushed forward by a series of shorter , action filled scenes, the Good Cop Bad Cop premise is pushed forward via two extended sequences that are based around very different conversations that DI Brian Fisher has.
In the first conversation DI Fisher provides an voice over to the action which sets the context for the scene and hints at an on going accommodation with the wolf. In the second conversation DI Fisher explicitly acknowledges the wolf and shares part of the way that he shapes the dual lives. Crucially this information is woven into the current plot as well. The expert way that all the necessary plot mechanics are kept in motion is very impressive, the reader has a chance to relax into the story and enjoy every bit of it  since the writer clearly knows what they are doing.
Aaron Murphy's arts is a pleasure to read,  a sequence talking heads in a static medium like comics is fantastically difficult to maintain a reader's full attention. The details are always subtly shifting from panel to panel so the reader is getting different information each time without ever disrupting the flow of the sequence. The action scenes are full of force and the splash page is a joy to behold.
As usual there is a very strong thread of pitch black humor in the story, the shopping scene is a little jewel of knocking over reader expectations, Aaron Murphy captures all of the humour in the art and the combination of the two is what makes reading comics such a pleasure.
Jim Campbell's letters are unobtrusive and essential, they slip into the story easily and carefully except when they make the reader stop and stare, the combination lettering/sound effect at the explosion is a smart, funny treat.
It is fascinating to read how the premise never overwhelms the story nor is it left behind as being too awkward to maintain. The thoughtful skill and craft the creators bring to the process is astounding, the balance is tightly maintained all the way and a sharply provocative crime story is steadily unfolding. Something new and unexpected is rare in crime fiction and equally rare in comics, it is a serious satisfaction to see it unfurl before us in these pages.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly send by Jim Alexander. To get a copy of Good Cop Bad Cop 3, I strongly recommend that you give your self a treat and do get it, it will be available at the book launch  at the Geek-aboo comic mart (74 High Street, Glasgow) on 23 Jan 2016.  In attendance will be writer Jim Alexander and Editor and Publisher Ed Murphy.    Alternatively you can order the book online from the Planet Jimbot shop:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/261656580/goodcopbadcop301

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