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Past Glories

Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.

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Reviewed by Brian Domingos

Writer: Jason Hall
Artist: Matt Kindt
Top Shelf Productions

PISTOLWHIP is one of those books that fell under a lot of people's radars last year. Jason Hall and Matt Kindt crafted a tale about private eye, Mitch Pistolwhip and gave a glimps of what his world is like. It's backroom deals, fist fights and radio personalities. It's not Now, but barely yesterday. It's a little dark, it's a little flirty. Ultimately, its a great place to visit.

THE YELLOW MENACE is PISTOLWHIP Volume #2 and Mitch is up to his old business, trying to make ends meet and keep afloat, financially. Radio & Comics are under a magnifying glass for their violent influence over children.

A radio station explosion kills star Orson Lang, the voice actor that portrayed action star Jack Peril. Someone in the city is killing people in the name of 'The Yellow Menace' in a way that mirrors things that have appeared in the Comics. The Real Jack Peril appears and attempts to apprehend the Yellow Menace - and the story spins out of control.

Hall and Kindt tag-team to plot and pace the story in separate chapters (Radio, Comics, Movies & Pulps) the four major pieces of medium that spoke to the 1940s. Each section follows the themes of the chapter changing the layouts to include hunks of text and more fluid, cinematic pacing when needed.

The story is so complicated that it makes total sense. The characters have distinct personalities and their voices come out so strongly that they almost overwhelm each other. They all live and breathe and ache to be real.

Matt Kindt's artwork is pretty simplistic at times, but it's methodical and specific and detailed when the time is right. He knows when to compliment the script at the right time and when to back off and let the characters do their own thing.

Strongest is the sensory moments in the script. By intermixing songs of the day with music and lyrics, the city is given a soundtrack all it's own. It changes the perspective of the story and PISTOLWHIP is ALL a matter of perspective.

I'd recomend PISTOLWHIP: The Yellow Menace (as well as the first PISTOLWHIP) to just about anyone who likes a mystery or a great pulp tale.



Brian Domingos is a regular contributor to PopImage.

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