Writer C.J. Standal and artist Juan Romera do it again with their crime noir comic series, Return of the Gangster!
When I reviewed Rebirth of the Gangster: Book I, I was instantly a fan of the interesting art that brought back nostalgic feelings of cartoons I watched as a kid in the 90’s (Tintin, Batman: The Animated Series). The story line looked at a father and a son who were both affected by crime and societal circumstances. Overall, Book I was a good read.
Book II continues the story with an interesting look at another family with links to crime, the pain that can travel from generation to generation as men get caught in the throes of crime. Where we looked at Marcus in Book I, we meet Hunter in Book II.
The writing’s great, from the transitioning of scenes to the natural, street-wise dialogue. Nothing is hammed up here. We see believable interactions of men involved in crime, their motivations, why they chose the lifestyles they chose. We see the stress and drama of what men go through in their situations, as well as the legal and legislative aspects of what happens to men caught in crime.
I found it interesting how the first book of ROG focused on a non-white family and their relation to crime, while this book introduces a white family dealing with crime in their history as well. Both books do so in a way that doesn’t stereotype white or non-white people. The books also make all of the characters believable, and empathetic, no matter the race or background of the reader. There’ s no hero or villain here, just real people trying to make it in the chaotic world we all live in.
This second book also leaves more mystery than the first. With this second family that’s introduced, we have a lot of questions of what’s going on with Hunter and how his story will connect with Marcus’s… so I’m very excited to read Book III.
It’s a relief to see, in the independent comic world where more creators are owning and promoting their properties, how diverse comics have been getting after the sham of the “Comic Code” era. Along with the great, expected superhero comics, we have everything from horror to thriller to crime books like this one. If you like great crime dramas that draw back to the EC days, to the noir comics (like Brubaker) and crime shows of today, along with fun, nostalgic yet unique art styles, I highly recommend Return of the Gangster. You can find this comic at series on C.J. Standal’s Amazon Author Page. Read them in order so you don’t get lost!