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Torso Paperback – January 1, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS is an award winning comics creator, "New York Times" bestseller, and is the current writer of "All New X-Men" and "Uncanny X-Men", which debuted at number one on national sales charts. He is one of the premier architects of Marvel's Ultimate comics line and has won five Eisner awards, including two 'Best Writer of the year' and was honored with the prestigious Inkpot award for comic art excellence. He lives in Portland, Oregon. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics; Gph edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582401748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582401744
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.7 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'm not usually that interested in serial killers, be they real or fictional, but I'll check out almost any graphic novel, and so I picked this up from the library recently. The book is a fictional recasting of the grisly "Torso Killer" murders that took place in Cleveland roughly between 1935-39. One aspect that makes it a touch more interesting is the involvement of Elliot Ness, fresh from his legendary "Untouchables"-leading, Capone-busting successes in Chicago. After the end of Prohibition, Ness left the G-men and was hired in 1935 by the city of Cleveland as Director of Public Safety. This coincided almost exactly with the emergence of a gruesome serial killer who decapitated and often dismembered his victims, leaving most of the remains in or near Lake Erie Sound. (Note: Contrary to what some reviewers have written, this was hardly the first serial killer in America. The first reliably documented serial killer operated in the 1890s in Chicago and was the subject of a very entertaining recent book, Devil in the White Castle.)

The story documents the initial investigation by a pair of tough-talking police detectives while Ness is busy purging the police department of corrupt cops. However, as the corpses start mounting up, the mayor forces Ness to take charge of the Torso case. The bulk of the book is then a pretty straightforward police procedural, as Ness and the lead detectives pursue various angles. The most notable of these is Ness' controversial decision to clear out a large shantytown of unemployed people and burn it to the ground in order to deny the killer an easy target population. The investigation is handled pretty well, with good pacing and great dialogue peppered with plenty of period slang.
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Format: Paperback
"Torso" is a great comic. Not being a huge fan of crime-fiction myself, I gave it a try based on Bendis's excellent work on the comic series "Powers." Also, I liked the idea of a real-life "super-hero" in Eliot Ness pitched against a real-life "super-villain" in the form of the Torso serial killer.
Like Alan Moore's "From Hell," Bendis took a real, unresolved case and weaved a drama around facts. His story-telling is realistic and gritty, and does not contain Moore's flights of fancy. I would have liked to have seen an appendix, separating the drama from the known facts, and why Bendis choose his particular culprit.
The art is not a strong initial attractor, but after reading a few pages it starts to flow. The mix of photos and drawings is effective.
This is really strong stuff, and I recommend it to comic fans and crime-fiction fans alike.
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Format: Paperback
I've read a few Bendis titles in the past and have been just okay with them. I ran across this one at the library and decided to give it a try. Absolutely stunning. This guy shouldn't waste his time with hero comics because when he's just okay with them. While getting his hands around historical crime, he just explodes into someone like a Caleb could only hope to be. This was on level with "From Hell" in the graphic world and Elroy's "Black Dahlia" in non-graphic, but lacking some of their depth. Well researched and well presented. It's a story I had never heard of and will definitely read more about in the future.
The presentation, which is something I rarely comment on in a graphic book, was unbelelievable. I loved the mixture of drawing with old photography. I was impressed with the authentic dialogue based on periodic idiomatic expressions. And the wording, I just came away so impressed with it. The way it was connected to visually cue your eyes to the graphics. And how it was always easy to follow the structure due to this, even though it was anything but the linear paneling we are used to with comics. One moment that is just spectacular is an interrogation of a potential suspect by Eliot Ness and how the format swirls around two pages leading into a metaphorical abyss. And you'll have to read a little more to understand that abyss comment.
Loved the ending! Loved the ending! Loved the ending! It may not meet the expectations of those that demand conclusion, but there was something so fundamental about the nature of power there that I just loved it.
Top 5 all time Graphic Novel. And who can ever compete with Sandman, so let's be real and say Top 4;)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love this book! Growing up in Cleveland this case always fascinated me, and this is a great interpretation of the case! I honestly have no idea how more people don't know about these murders. It's not 100% factual, but it's great and I love the Garfield 1-23-23 reference also! (Those from Northeast Ohio will know what I'm talking about...lol)
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Format: Paperback
This collection contains the complete Torso story, one of the earlier works of now well-known comic-book author Bendis. A story about the hunt for a serial killer whose trademark it was to leave his victims behind with their head, hands and feet cut of, based on real events.
Eliot Ness, the man who has recently helped put Al Capone behind bars, has only just been installed as Clevelands new `safety-director' when two corpses are discovered in a local field. Both corpses are heavily cut up, only the torsos are left behind. This comes as an extra job in Ness' agenda in which he had already decided to clean up this, for now, corrupt city. When more and more corpses quickly turn up though, it becomes priority. From there on it becomes an interesting story, working towards a not-so-average conclusion.
The link to Alan Moore's `From Hell' is easily made, but apart from the same basic idea (report of a serial-murderers past spree) the two books are very different. Where `From Hell' is all about information, backgrounds and completeness this book focuses purely on the chase, the point of view of the investigators (Bendis gift for dialogue is important in this). Therefore it should be approached purely as a tale, not as a source of information on the events. And despite of the big amount of pages it's very fast-paced, not a long-read. The black-and-white art is pretty simple and shouldn't be the reason to buy this book. Simple cartoony (maybe TOO cartoony for this type of story) characters with backgrounds that are sometimes almost non-existent and sometimes pictures from the real scenes, crowds and locations of the particular murder-spree. All in all not Bendis best-scripted book but certainly enjoyable and worth the read, despite of the high cover-price.
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