REVIEW: Ten Grand #2

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A former hit man for the mob, Joe Fitzgerald, promises his lover Sarah he will quit his job after he performs one last hit, to kill a rival enforcer named James. Instead, he gets much more than he bargained for when James, a demon summoner, kills him and his lover Laura. However, thanks to an angel, Joe is resurrected to take his revenge on James. He is told that he will reunite with his lover in the afterlife if he performs good deeds and dies a “righteous” death. Since killing James, Joe Fitzgerald solves supernatural problems for a price, ten grand in cash. A woman named Debbie hires him to find her sister in the cult Divine Will. Its leader is James, the man Joe killed two years ago.

SUMMARY

Pros
Strong engaging narration
The art is gritty and gruesome
Unique supernatural concepts
Cons

Main protagonist too similar to John Constantine from Hellblazer
Common character motiviations

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

READER RATING!

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Ten Grand 2 coverTEN GRAND #2
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Ben Templesmith
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Colorist: Ben Templesmith
Editor: Phil Smith
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Ten Grand: Joe Fitzgerald is sitting at the local bar waiting for someone to hire him. A woman named Debbie hires him to find her sister Sarah, who joined a cult called Divine Will before she went missing. She provides a sketch of its leader and Joe instantly recognizes him as James, the man who killed him and Laura, who he thought he killed two years ago. After seeking divine guidance from a summoned angel, he searches the internet for more information at a coffee house. However, a mishap causes the building to catch fire. Undeterred, Joe continues his research on Divine Will and its leader, Brother James.

AN AMERICAN CONSTANTINE

J. Michael Straczynski’s Ten Grand #2 continues Joe Fitzgerald’s investigation into Divine Will and its leader James. The character narrates throughout the comic book, giving his opinions and explaining supernatural ideas to the reader. J. Michael Stracynski does a great job with Joe’s narration, establishing the protagonist’s personality, characteristics, and motivations in the series. Joe Fitzgerald is a pessimistic, rough edged, chain smoking, occult detective. Although he is a well-developed character, he reminds me of John Constantine from Hellblazer. In fact, all Joe Fitzgerald needs is a British accent and he would be an exact carbon copy. Also, the motivation to reunite with a dead lover in the afterlife by performing good deeds has already been done. Even though the comic has similarities with Hellblazer, there are unique concepts, such as Joe Fitzgerald having only five minutes with Sarah when he dies, or how demons possess humans in the mortal world. Also, Joe Fitzgerald uses modern technology to help his investigations, something few supernatural comics attempt to incorporate into their series.

BLACK, WHITE AND RED ALL OVER

Ben Templesmith’s inky, water-based artwork flows seamlessly with the gritty, supernatural comic. The colors of this grim tale are remarkable. The scenes have a lot of gray and black colors, with a splash of red, orange and yellow to emphasize action scenes. Sometimes for this type of art, success is a gamble. Artists sacrifice clarity for creative expression, and it becomes hard to tell characters apart. However, this is not the case with Ten Grand. Ben Templesmith’s main cast is unique and made up of heavily developed characters. One in particular, the flesh demon at Divine Will’s headquarters, was very gruesome and monstrous.

BOTTOM LINE: AN AVERAGE SUPERNATURAL COMIC

J. Michael Stracynski and Ben Templesmith’s Ten Grand #2 has great storytelling and a well-developed cast of characters. Unfortunately, there is very little that separates it from other supernatural comic books. There are a few twists at the end that were interesting, but overall it’s an average supernatural detective series.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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