There are a handful of writers and artists in the comic book industry that can sell a book just by splashing their names across the cover. In the case of the new Image Comics series Back to Brooklyn, there are two names gracing its cover that have fanboys scooping it off the shelves: Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti. These guys are heavy weights in the comic book industry and have collectively delivered some of modern comics’ biggest and best selling series.
When first announced, Back to Brooklyn seemed like a match made in heaven. Garth Ennis, known for everything from Punisher to Preacher, writing a revenge-fueled crime comic is the kind of thing that gets comic fans salivating. Throw in the fact that the series was co-developed by Jimmy Palmiotti, who not only created fan favorites like Ash and Painkiller Jane, but also helped bring Marvel Comics out of bankruptcy in the late ’90s, and you now have a must have title.
Back to Brooklyn is the story of Bob Saetta, a guy that quickly gives you the impression he’s someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. Bob must head back to his old stomping ground in Brooklyn to find his wife and son, who have been kidnapped by his brother, the head of the ruthless Saetta Crime Family. As you might have guessed, things don’t come easily for Bob, and the situation gets very bloody very quickly.
Unfortunately, the first issue doesn’t exactly knock it out of the park. Ennis’s trademark dialogue and one of a kind characters are nowhere to be found. Instead, we get cardboard cutouts of mobsters we have seen and read a thousand times before — guys named Paulie who spout out mobster clichés that should probably not be repeated here. While the comic has some good moments, like Bob’s first violent run-in with some old associates, the overall product seems to be missing that Garth Ennis quality.
The book’s biggest shortcoming is in the art department, however. Drawn, inked and colored by Mihailo Vukelic, a newcomer to the comic world, Back to Brooklyn lacks any real punch. His style is soft and smooth, a tough fit for a hardboiled crime piece. The panels move awkwardly at times, and the action feels a bit sluggish. Vukelic does do a great job with details though, drawing every gory inch of a shotgun wound with frightening results.
Back to Brooklyn is scheduled to run for five issues, but it will need to pick up steam if it expects fans to be on board for the whole thing. Hopefully, the second issue, due Oct. 22, can put the series back on track and keep the fans coming back for more.