99 Days (Vertigo Crime) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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99 Days

Vertigo Crime

Written by Matte Casali; Art by Kristian Donaldson; Cover by Lee Bermejo

Aug 16, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In 99 Days, Los Angeles Detective Antoine Boshoso Davis is constantly vexed by his nightmares of a Rwandan boy about to commit a grisly act of murder that no child should commit or even witness. Davis is a typical noir character in that he has a shadowy past that slowly unravels as the narrative tiptoes along. He’s a dogged individual, though, and doesn’t let his nocturnal terrors keep him from his work deterring crime alongside his sexy Latin partner, Valeria Torres. When they are called to a South Central residence where a violent murder of a young woman took place, he immediately recognizes the weapon used to hack the poor lady to death. The newspapers are calling the killer the “Machete Murderer.”

Davis’ shadowy childhood begins to tumble into his present life as he investigates this string of terrible crimes and gets involved with Los Angeles’ two rival black gangs (the Bloods and the Crips). You see, 12 years ago he was a young Hutu in Rwanda, and he was forced to become a child soldier with the rebel Hutu militia. Italian writer Matteo Casali (Bone Rest: A World’s End, Catwoman) weaves in some interesting characters throughout his tale and the action slowly begins to pick up after the halfway mark. Overall, this is a fairly boilerplate noir tale that is helped by being bifurcated by time and place. (That sliced cover artwork by Lee Bermejo [Hellblazer, Joker, Wednesday Comics] is a fitting visual metaphor.)

Eisner-nominated artist Kristian Donaldson (DMZ, The Goon, Supermarket) on the other hand, does some magnificent things with his lines. The fact that the book is in black and white only helps his cause. The overall tone and texture of the scenes are spot-on and Donaldson’s care for shading adds to the story’s mystery. His character modeling is rough in a few spots, but he nails down all the main characters. Pick up 99 Days if you’re a crime story fan. If you’re on the fence when it comes to this kind of stuff, 99 Days won’t come close to converting you.

Spoiler: It’s very interesting to note that the true criminal in this story is a wealthy and extra slimy owner of Valient Ltd. It’s a sad fact that nobody seems to care that African Americans are slaughtering each other in L.A. because some rich prick wants to make enough off the violence to purchase another jet. This social resonance lends 99 Days some artistic legitimacy. (www.kristiandonaldson.com / www.dccomics.com/vertigo)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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