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Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story Hardcover – August 24, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in New Orleans in the first days after Hurricane Katrina, Dark Rain--much like Johnson's lauded 2008 graphic novel Incognegro--uses the trappings of gritty crime fiction to explore deeper issues of race in America. Dabny, a decorated soldier and former customs officer, languishes in a Houston halfway house after being convicted of taking a bribe. Desperate to raise child-support money, he agrees to ferry his bunkmate Emmit into New Orleans's submerged Lower 9th Ward, where Emmit plans to rob his former employer, the Banque de Congo Square. The pair soon runs afoul of (metaphor alert) Dark Rain, a corrupt private security firm led by Dabny's former commanding officer, and some pretty standard caper-movie action ensues. Johnson's dialogue is frequently witty and incisive, and the book's view of the utter failure of public services in the city's poor neighborhoods and at the New Orleans Convention Center cuts to the marrow. Unfortunately, the whole affair is dragged down by the familiarity of its somewhat tacked-on central plot. And while Gane's slightly cartoonish style enlivens the book's moments of wry humor, a neo-noir caper story with a healthy dose of social commentary demands a certain gravity that's missing.
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From Booklist

Whereas Josh Neufeld’s documentary comic A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge (2009) traced the crucible of living through Katrina, this graphic novel uses the city’s destruction more as setting than story. A couple of ex-cons (the righteous Dabny and scheming Emmit) plan to rob what they assume will be an abandoned bank. They look to an independent security firm called Dark Rain, headed by a sociopathic former soldier, Colonel Driggs, to get them back into New Orleans and maybe lend them a bit of spare plastic explosives. Naturally, Driggs finds it more convenient to just usurp their plan while attending to other shady pursuits and cuts them out of the action. Dabny and Emmit navigate the flooded streets themselves and face both the greed and heroism such calamities can inspire. Gane’s artwork is lighter than one might expect but capably carries the drama and nicely employs varying shades of aqua blue as the only coloring. In all, a fine heist story set against a compelling portrait not only of the storm’s destruction but also of the opportunistic hole it punched straight through a battered city. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; First Edition edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401221602
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401221607
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When most people refer to noir storytelling, they're usually referring to a specific time. The film style began in the German Expressionist movement in the 1940s but the stories were from the American crime pulps of the 1930s. The name "film noir" came from French critic Nino Frank when talking about Hollywood films. So, looking at the fragmented history, noir kind of came from everywhere. But it always focuses on crime, evil, and flawed protagonists that are not traditional heroes. People talk like noir is gone, just a period in time, but truthfully crime, evil, and flawed people exist everywhere today.

Dark Rain by Matt Johnson and Simone Gane is a classic noir story. Set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the graphic novel is true noir. The protagonists are men that have fallen and are driven by desperation to rob a bank in the flood city during the early days of the storm.

Dabny is an easy man to like because he's got a lot of problems and is trying to hang onto a sense of honor. He's an ex-soldier and still believes in doing the right thing. Unfortunately, doing the right thing all the time doesn't back the back child support he owes so he can see his little girl. He's an easy man to sympathize with. He's in a halfway house in Houston for criminal for taking bribes while working as a customs officer. While there, he meets Emmit, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.

Emmit was a bank employee in New Orleans where he was arrested for breaking into safe deposit boxes. Since the prisons in New Orleans are overflowing, he gets shipped to Huston and ends up bunking with Dabny. The way he tells the story, Emmit wasn't going to take any of the money or goods found in the safe deposit boxes.
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Format: Paperback
This Vertigo crime book was more social commentary than crime fiction. While, yes, there were criminals, they were mostly stereotypes amped up to the nth degree. Mat Johnson wanted to tell a story of the government involving hurricane Katrina and he did just that. However, the fictional story with it wasn't engrossing. The art was fine but the coloring was a bit off at times. Overall, the book just wasn't that interesting and had way too many conveniences.
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Format: Paperback
Really enjoyed this noir thriller. Mat Johsnon places the thriller in New Orleans after /during the Katrina disaster. The book's characters (and there are a lot of them) are interesting and unlike many noir thrillers you care what happens to them. The setting is fleshed out in detail so you feel the chaos that was the city after the hurricane. Overall the best graphic novel out of the dozen or so I read in January. I recommend it as a good read.
#16 in my attempt to review every graphic novel i read in 2013
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Format: Paperback
This indie comic with black and white drawings has an appeal of its own. The drawings were not unpleasant, bordering on the cartoonish but typical of such singular offerings. The story of two ex-cons attempting to rob a bank during the Hurrican Katrina disaster was not too bad. However, the story appeared to drag on with mundane sub-plots that detracted from the overall story-telling. Althought it had the potential to go in a high-octane drama direction, it never rose above its b-grade tv movie status.
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