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on October 16, 2010
Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark created one of the earliest villain heroes, Parker. Like Fantomas, Tony Soprano or Dexter Morgan, we know they are clearly one of the "bad guys", yet we follow them along their adventures and hope that they survive their predicaments.

Parker is a very efficient crook. He is an independent, working for himself. He specializes in robberies (armored cars, jewelry, rare coins, etc.). He will kill when threatened or betrayed. When he kills he is remorseless and cold blooded. He own next to nothing and people he knows are just that, people he knows. He does not crave owning things nor the friendship of others. There is no sentimentality. When a fellow crook offers to help him out on a caper out of friendship for having been helped by Parker in the past, Parker notes this - it troubles him because it is seen as sign of weakness.

In this work, Parker is on the run from the syndicate after an earlier run in. Rather than hide away he takes the fight to the syndicate and goes after the head boss.

Darwyn Cooke continues his adaptation of the Parker novels. His earlier turn on "The Hunter" was terrific. He shows how the graphic novel format can capture the dynamism of the action and subtle shifts in tone and expression. He sticks close to the original material making only a few small changes - he compresses the plot from "The Man with the Getaway Face" and makes a tweak at the end. Parker personally goes to the crime boss Karns rather than using the middleman Quill.
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on January 24, 2016
It's Darwyn Cooke, how could you go wrong?
The cartooning style flows with the story that very few comic books can match. I would say the Parker series is even better than Cooke's previous works. Once you start reading one of these books it is very hard to stop. The aesthetic of the books is an event, the thicker stock paper, leather bound cover that is just the right size to read in the hand and slightly off base colour pay off in dividends. (I recommend getting the hardbacks for this series).
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on January 11, 2016
This book continues Darwn Cookes translation of Richard Starks character "Parker". The Outfit continues where "The Hunter" left off and these stories are AWESOME!, Cookes illustrative style works PERFECTLY with the story period! I moved right through these as they flowed effortlessly. If you are a fan of Cooke (Justice League: the new frontier) you will LOVE these. These will stay in my book collection for years.
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on January 23, 2014
Classic noir in the rich tradition of Chandler and MacDonald. Stark was a prolific writer of noir novels, the Parker series being his most known creation. Here artist Darwyn Cooke brings this dark, but simple tale to life with his imaginative illustrations. The color palette is mostly blue, black and grey - to fit the theme, I suppose. The story is relatively easy to follow: Parker is seeking revenge on the Outfit for daring to take a hit out on him and goes on a robbing/killing spree that ends with him winning. I give it three stars (instead of four or five) because Cooke's ambitious noir rendering sometimes makes it hard to follow the action. Some of his panels are so drenched in dark blue and black that I had difficulty discerning who was crashing through the glass panes I to whom, or who was 'thwacking' whom on the forehead. Other than that this is a pretty solid addition to this series.
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on May 21, 2016
I've read all the Parker (and Grofeld) novels, which I recommend to anyone who likes crime novels or appreciates masterful plotting and characterization.

Cooke's adaptation of The Outfit gets 5 stars from me on his artwork and use of the comic form - there are many brilliant touches in his adaptation (I especially liked how he handled the many heists that set the Outfit back on its heels).

But his treatment of the Parker character disappoints. Stark/Westlake trod a very fine line in making a criminal his antihero. Parker doesn't kill unless he needs to, almost purely as a practical matter. (He has moral qualms once, in The Sour Lemon Score; he doesn't even recognize that it's his conscience talking, and he has cause a few books later to regret his mercy.) He's often described as a sociopath, but I don't think that's right, because Parker does acknowledge and follow many rules; they just don't have anything to do with the law. He treats the law much as a big CEO might, a practical obstacle that has to be gotten around to get the money he wants. (Parker as CEO would be a great satire.)

Cooke apparently feels the need to toughen Parker up. He kills characters he doesn't kill in the book, in cold blood for no advantage. The last scene with Karns (who maintains a professional and healthy respect for Parker in later books) is invented from whole cloth, to make Parker appear more of an S.O.B. than he is. I guess Cooke is free to reinvent Parker as he likes, but falling off the author's fine balance, he makes Parker a less interesting character IMHO.

And that's why this is not a 5-star review - very much worth reading for Parker fans, but if you're coming to Parker through Cooke, I hope you'll pick up the novels as well. They're masterpieces.
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on June 9, 2013
Excellent, one sit read. Unlike The Hunter which was perfectly imbalanced for my taste - The Outfit is wordier. Still, with a good mix of prose and long dialogue, back story back forth intertwining, but I prefer sophisticated high energy story telling graphic ink! As in the Hunter - the first 27 pages are mostly all wonderfully simplified and illustrated graphic story depiction. (Darwyn Cooke is a genius) Book One of The Oufit is excellent - Comparatively, even with the extra word fill, the change in page cadence, flow and some illustration style differences - The Outfit proved to be an excellent read as part of a very consistently entertaining series.
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on December 27, 2013
Graphical, lyrical hard-boiled straightforward storytelling. But lots of fun and lots of twists. I just love the way darwyn Cooke draws and Richard Starke (aka -- I won't tell you) tells a story. If I'd been on top of it, I'd have been handing graphic novels out as Christmas presents.
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on February 20, 2012
The only reason I'm not giving a 5 is beacuse it does get slow about halfway through. I loved the Hunter, the first of the series. The highlight of The Outfit is it's presentation. The style of the hardcover is just like it's predecessor, looks like something off my parents bookshelf from the 60's or early 70's. I love the how they used several different classic cartoon/comic styles to tell the stories of the associates of Parker. Worth your time and money if you are a noir fan.
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on June 7, 2012
I've read all the Parker books, this graphic novel is a wonderful to get people to find this character. Cooke is great and shows another side of the storytelling ability of Donald Westlake.
Will buy the next in the series for sure.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon April 27, 2013
This is the second of Darwyn Cooke's comic book adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker novels with this one using material from the novels "The Outfit" and "The Man with the Getaway Face". After Parker walks off with a hefty chunk of change from the Outfit (a crime syndicate) at the end of the first book The Hunter, a price is put on his head as Parker heads south to enjoy his earnings in the lap of luxury. But even after altering his face with plastic surgery, he's spotted and the Outfit are alerted to his location, Parker decides to gather his criminal friends and bring the fight to the Outfit's boss.

Parker is easily Richard Stark/Donald Westlake's greatest creation. He is an unstoppable, super-efficient career criminal who plans his heists meticulously, selects the most useful members for his team, and has no compunction with killing - but only with no other choice left to him. Parker almost seems like a robot at times - he regards emotion as weakness, and looks upon any kind of extravagance as wasteful, an element that will end the person and send them to jail. And yet he's strangely likeable - or if not that, then fascinating to read as he pulls off daring heists so coolly.

Cooke incorporates different artistic styles to tell the stories of each of Parker's gang hitting the Outfit in different ways even including prose from the source novel to tell certain parts of the story. The styles change the pace of the book, slowing it down while the action ramps up so you've got time to enjoy what happens at just the right speed. It's a great balance.

Cooke's done Richard Stark/Donald Westlake proud by doing such a fantastic job in telling the tale of one of Parker's best adventures with style and panache that only someone as experienced and masterful a comics artist as Cooke could do. It's a great crime caper comic that's terrific fun to read. More, please!
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