The Killer vol. 5: Fight or Flight



Here’s another series where if I had known this was going to be the last volume of it, I’d have saved doing the podcast on it until now.  Anyhow, writer Matz and artist Luc Jacamon’s long-running series about a professional killer reaches an ambiguous end despite the global ambitions portended at the end of the previous volume.  While the success of the oil company the Killer founded with his friends, cartel scion Mariano and political fixer Haywood, has certainly led to a better life for them including a career in politics for Mariano.  He quickly convinces the Killer that his third-world nation needs their own kind of James Bond to do their dirty work and Matz has some cynical fun with this setup.  Not for long, though, as it turns out that Mariano’s ambitions are running over some of America’s interests while he’s also developed a bad habit of getting high on his own supply.  While the Killer has managed to stay one step ahead of the law until now, what happens when he and his family are faced with a threat that has unlimited resources and tenacity at its disposal?

 

The supreme achievement of this series is that it has managed to evoke a great deal of sympathy for someone I shouldn’t care much about at all.  Even though he’s a remorseless killer through and through, the title character has still managed to show a remarkable amount of depth as he accumulated friends, family, and success in fields that didn’t involve murder.  That remains true here as he sticks to his principles even as those around him do not and winds up paying the price for it.  Even then, the Killer’s fall feels more like a slump as his losses are pitched in a low-key manner and lack the fireworks you usually see in crime stories.

 

While this approach works as Matz and Jacamon tighten the screws, and leads to some good scenes like the Killer’s parting from his wife, the story ultimately peters out in the end.  There’s no real closure to be had, unless you were a fan of Matz’s cyincal anti-capitalist ranting throughout the latter half of the series.  That stuff is entertaining up to a point with me, and certainly not the basis for a satisfying ending.  Still, I have to admire the creators’ guts to end the series without serving up any definitive judgment on the Killer himself.  It’s true to the spirit of “The Killer,” even if this finale left me appreciating how much more deftly Matz and Jacamon set up and demolished expectations back in the first two volumes.

jason@glickscomicpicks.com


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