Last year, Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel adaptation “Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter” was one of the best-loved and critically acclaimed comics released, and the anticipation is high for this year’s adaptation of “The Outfit.” High enough that the release of the prelude/preview, adapting “The Man with the Getaway Face” was a huge hit at this year’s WonderCon -- so much so that many of us who didn’t attend were a little bit jealous of those who did. Thankfully, IDW recognized the demand for the book and released it through Diamond. And, honestly, you’re not likely to find a better way to spend two dollars any time soon.
As Cooke explains in his introduction to this 24-page story, this is a quick adaptation of “The Man with the Getaway Face,” the second Parker novel, and it’s done in this form instead of full adaptation because there were two books outside of the first four Parker novels that Cooke wanted to adapt and that meant losing two of the first four. But, there are some important parts in the second novel that inform what comes after, resulting in this short story adaptation that will begin “The Outfit” and we can read alone here.
Since it will be part of October’s “The Outfit,” some may wonder why bother? Well, how about the production values? As anyone who read “The Hunter” knows, it was done at a smaller page size than normal comics; well, “The Man with the Getaway Face” is done at a larger size, giving a larger look at Cooke’s gorgeous art. The thick paper stock is also an added bonus. While this story will reappear in the graphic novel, this presentation stands on its own quite well.
Following the events of “The Hunter,” Parker gets plastic surgery to change his face and goes looking for a job to pull. The job he finds isn’t that great, but he manages to make it workable. Some new characters are introduced and we get to see Parker use his brains to pull off the job and avoid the inevitable double-cross that anyone could see coming except for a man blinded by love.
Cooke’s writing style is very easy-going. He uses words sparingly, cutting them down to a minimum and allowing the art to tell most of the story. It’s a very visually-heavy form of storytelling, but that also gives the words used a greater weight. When someone speaks, you need to pay attention, because it’s important. Some people in adapting a novel would go overboard with the narration, but Cooke eliminates most of it since the art does the job of description.
His art style is the trademark cartoony look he’s known for. One of the more impressive things about it is that he does manage to make Parker’s face look different while still looking enough like him that it’s not jarring for readers. Since his style is so minimal, this was more of a challenge than it may appear and Cooke pulls it off well. The reveal of his new face is a different-yet-similar callback to the reveal of his face in “The Hunter”
Like “The Hunter,” the only color used here is a tone, but, unlike the preview shows, it’s dark golden yellow. It’s rougher and drabber than the blue, but that suits the story, which is a little drabber. It’s a basic heist in a quiet place and the color works well. The heist scene is done wonderfully by Cooke with no words at all and crystal clarity in his art.
Even if you’re planning to get “The Outfit,” still grab a copy of “The Man with the Getaway Face” since it’s a fun short story that works on its own and it’s Darwyn Cooke’s art at a larger size on nice, thick paper. And, it’s only two bucks.