Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Alexis Sentenac
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Review by Greg Brothers
When I saw the name Lowlifes #1 listed for books being released this week, I was intrigued. Doing a bit more research I found out that it was going to focus on a bad cop, an addict, and a thug who become involved with a crime boss whose poker game gets robbed. Sounds interesting enough, right?
Lowlifes #1 introduces us to Richard, the cop that I mentioned earlier. He arrives at a run-down apartment just in time to see a florist leaving the same parking lot he is entering. Soon enough we find out that the florist has been harassing Richard’s wife with flowers, after the florist has raped her in the past. Richard is at a loss and not sure how to handle the situation. Does he play it straight and try to get the guy arrested, or does he take the law into his own hands and get revenge on his own?
Buccellato’s choice to introduce Richard’s conundrum allows the reader to understand his choices. It provides empathy for a character who may make choices that otherwise the reader might not agree with. It also helps to establish the state of mind that Richard might be in if and when he joins up with the mob boss. Rape is not always an easy plot device to introduce into a story. You risk making a character look weak or fall into the whole “girlfriend in a refrigerator” trope. Eventually it might be revealed that Richard has other motivations, but for now the rape of the woman he loves seems to be his driving force. Hopefully in future issues that can be only part of his story, and we can learn more about the girl other than being a victim.
The art fits perfectly for a crime drama. It is dark and gritty. The line work is tight. The character designs have a hardened and grizzled look that shows the tough times the characters have had. The muted colors set the mood throughout the panels, while the layout design makes for an easy read.
Verdict: Buy it.
Lowlifes #1 does a fantastic job establishing one of the three main characters. By the end of the issue you understand Richard’s motivation and root for him to find revenge.