The Expatriate #1 Review

The Expatriate #1 Review
Teaser: Does Image have another winner on their hands?

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Banana Republic: Part One

Written by: B. Clay Moore
Art by: Jason Latour
Lettered by: Marshall Dillon
Flats by: Josh Richardson
Publisher: Image Comics

Image Comics has had a renaissance the past few years. Led by books like Small Gods, Lions, Tigers, and Bears, and NYC Mech there’re a number of titles that are not to be missed. Hawaiian Dick is another popular Image title. It’s a book that I’ve heard a lot about, but I’ve never gotten a chance to pick it up. Judging by the word of mouth on Hawaiian Dick, I decided to give B. Clay Moore’s newest book The Expatriate a look-see.

Expatriate is set in an unnamed South American country. We begin with two whacko CIA agents busting in on a family of seemingly normal people. They are looking for a man named Jack Dexter. When they are rebuffed they kill everybody in a totally blasé manner. We cut to Jack at a bar where he gets entangled with the wife of the president of the unnamed country. The wife, Maria, has her angry brother, who works for el presidente, dogging her trail. A firefight ensues and someone ends up dead. Maria and Jack run off. End of issue #1.

While the laundry list of characters and wild antics above may seem like a lot happened this issue, trust me, that’s not the case. This issue almost seemed like it was there for filler. Sure there were some interesting elements and a few twists and turns of major importance, but, as a whole, the issue was a light on substance. Sure there were a lot of characters introduced, but I didn’t really get to know any of them. The vagaries of the plot are shown, but again, I don’t feel like I know what’s going on.

That’s not to say I wanted to know all of the “secrets” of why Jack Dexter is an “expatriate” from the United States being hunted by the CIA. All I really wanted to know was what the book’s going to be about. From what I read here it seems like the book is about Jack being chased by the CIA. Now I knew that coming in. The biggest failing is that I don’t know the character any more than I did from reading solicitation copy. Anytime the solicitation copy tells you as much about a comic as the book itself there’s a problem.

While there may have been failings in the payoff this month the artwork was outstanding. Jason Latour immediately reminds me of two of the best in the industry right now: Eduardo Risso and Jock. Latour really gives this world of grey the look that it needs. Latour excels at setting the mode and tone of the piece. You get almost as much story from Latou’s style as from the script.

Expatriate #1 isn’t a bad comic by any means. Moore writes strong dialogue and the pacing isn’t bad. Still, the issue gets a big incomplete because it doesn’t pull me in and it leaves way too much up in the air. It’s tough to get a reader to try a new book in the expensive world of comics and Moore/Latour got me this month. Yet I really don’t know what I’m in for, what to expect, or why I should come back. Will I return next month for issue #2? Maybe…that’s all I’m willing to say at this point.