- Series: Parker (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: IDW Publishing; First Edition, First Printing edition (July 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1613772084
- ISBN-13: 978-1613772089
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Parker: The Score Hardcover – July 24, 2012
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Cooke rolls out another savvy effort in this third adaptation of the classic Parker thrillers by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake). As adept an adapter as he is an artist, Cooke knows just when to let his retro-sophisticated drawings do the talking and when to let Stark’s words take over. Because, in any case, they both hammer home the same point: you do not mess with Parker. This story brings the professional thief in on an elaborate scheme to rob an entire town blind in one fell swoop. That means a lot of people need to be involved, which isn’t Parker’s style, but the sheer audacity of it all proves an irresistible temptress. With a dozen microlocations and at least as many important players, the machinery of the heist could easily have compromised the tension of the story. But Cooke stages it all like a pro, nimbly guiding readers through the intricate plot, and it’s a blast. Another notch in the belt for one of comics’ hardest-boiled crime series, and more evidence for the court as to Cooke’s skill and the strength of the source material. --Ian Chipman
"The Score succeeds on every front: as a solid period piece, as an excellent adaptation of a fantastic book, and as a solid graphic experience of the 60s through the lens of a quiet, unyielding thief with nothing to lose." –PopMatters.com
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I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
If you are a graphic novel fan, this should appeal to you, mainly those who enjoy Frank Miller. Unlike many novel-to-graphic novel adaptations, Cooke doesn't force too much text upon the reader. He pulls enough from the book and lets the story live through his brush strokes. The book had some delay coming out (first scheduled for May, then June and now finally out in July), but it was well worth the wait. We can only hope he will continue this work.
England may have Bond, with all of his cheesy romanticism and judo chops, but America has Parker, a true reflection of the country -- brutal, industrious, intelligent and relentlessly confident.
Thanks to retro-noir graphic artist Darwyn Cooke, he is most recently re-emerging through graphic novels, with this latest effort being the third such installment. That Cooke's accompanying artistry isn't overshadowed by the gravitas of Stark's stories is truly a testament to just how talented Cooke is. Rarely has there been a more perfect pairing between literary and picture-based story telling to create one seamless package.
For those familiar with Cooke's other two works(Book One: The Hunter, and Book Two: The Outfit), and looking for more, they're not going to be disappointed. OK, maybe just a little disappointed, in that I think both previous efforts were stronger stories, and a little less formulaic. But both Starke and Cooke are also victims of their own success, and its hard to win the World Series every day. For those who like Cooke's visual atmospheric style of a hard luck, tough as nails 1960's noir world you really can't get that fix anywhere else, and most of us have been jonesing now for almost 2 years.
The one major change in the book is the use of coloring. While Hunter and Outfit were mostly tone on tone with atmospheric blues, the Score is instead toned in orange. Sometimes bright orange. Sometimes a LOT of bright orange. In many ways this works, as the Score is hued primarilly to the story's two major themes, the coppery tones of the desert and the fiery action in the city's streets. But sometimes it can almost be visually fatiguing, and the orange might have been better purposed for only certain scenes or chapters. In any event, sometimes I missed the old blues, but I'm sure Cooke is doing his best between giving us what we want and making sure he doesn't get bored with the same 'ol same 'ol. If push comes to shove, I'd rather keep him creative and productive.
Most of what you need to know plotwise you can get from the book description above, there is little reason to give you the cliffs notes here or give away any surprises. If you haven't been exposed to Parker before, he's not a nice guy, and you really shouldn't call him even a "dark hero" or an "anti hero". He's a charismatic thug, and nothing more, and if he does anything noble it's probably because you just haven't seen the angle yet. If you've watched Mel Gibson in the original "Payback", and then compared it to "Payback - the Director's Cut", you'll know what I mean. The only reason you may root for the guy is because the guys he goes up against are frequently even worse.
Bottom line, this is an easy pick-up for previous fans, and even though this is labeled as "Book Three", any newcomer would have no problem starting off with it as a standalone story. With that said, I do like the others slightly better, and there certainly is no reason not to start with "The Hunter" and work your way to here. Cooke says "Parker will be back" in 2013, so you might as well smoke through this one now.
This one does have something the other two didn't: the best use of negative space ever shown (see the 112-113 spread). Sorry Frank, but Darwyn's holding the trump card here.
I compare this book to the previous two only with a sense of unease. For despite my comparisons between the books in this series, there are no comparisons with those outside of it. Any comic by any other artist or artistic team pales in comparison to what you get here. Darwyn's work is finer than the finest single malt scotch and he can spin a novel into a comic better than anyone. The Parker series inspired me to read and reread both classic and contemporary crime comics and I felt no greater sense of fulfillment than if I had eaten a buffet of cotton candy. The storytelling, character development, pacing, and cinematic feel of Darwyn's Parker blows away anything even close to the same category. I only hope he decides to adapt some Jim Thompson novels, but until then, I'm happy to take Parker whenever he is willing to dish it out.
Bring it on, Darwyn.