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Loose Ends #1 (of 4)

Written by Jason Latour
Art by Chris Brunner
Colors by Rico Renzi
Published by Image Comics

Friends of Ultimate Comics Jason Latour and Rico Renzi have been working on this North Carolina crime story for ten years, and this week, it sees the light of day. It’s not for kids, but everyone else is going to love it.

The story follows a drug runner who returns to haunt a crummy Charlotte honky tonk, the tough bartender, and an Afghanistan veteran in trouble in Atlanta. Readers are going to see a lot of smoking, drinking, swearing, fighting, and even some sex. And I’m not a hundred percent convinced I know exactly what happened.

But this book isn’t about what happened, not really. I mean, a lot happens, and it’s not hard to follow. But the characters have murky backstory because we don’t need every detail to engage with their story. And leaving some of it vague lets us map the disgusting drunk obsessed with high school glory days onto the guy we know from high school. We get to map the brave bartender to our friends who marched on Raleigh last weekend. The guy in trouble? He might feel a lot like you.

And even more than what story Latour is telling, this book is original in how that’s told. Brunner’s page layouts play complicated games with timing and position, flipping camera angles and flickering lights around a 15-box grid like a master director. The twists in lettering from traditional word balloons to Saga-like freeform words disorient and pull the reader deeper into the scene. Renzi’s colors have never looked this good, even in Spider-Gwen. The reds and blues riot against one another on the page, illuminating the action but building a fierce tension that makes us as uncomfortable as any of the subject matter could. In three pages, the sun gradually sets to a menacing purple, and the book is full of subtle psychological yanks like that.

Pick up your copy of this book today, and keep it on hand to show Rico Renzi when he comes to NC Comicon Oak City in March. You’re going to love it.

-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics