Darwyn Cooke’s second Parker adaptation, The Outfit, is my personal favorite. It retains Stark’s classic style while adding more of Cooke’s artistic vision to the story. It contains both the story taking place in the original Outfit, along with the Parker book preceding it, The Man With the Getaway Face. Parker has his face changed in order to avoid The Outfit: The Mega Mafioso Corporation, running rackets across the US, who continue to pursue after Parker due to the events of The Hunter. Parker’s new identity is revealed by an associate from an armored car heist, Skim Lasker, and Parker has to team up with another associate, Handy McKay, in order to take on the The Outfit by robbing them blind and bringing in new management. This story both concludes the arc started in The Hunter and sets up characters who will return in Cooke’s next Parker adaptation, The Score.
The story is both more, and less faithful than the film adaptation. The characters are the same as those from the Richard Stark novel, yet some of these characters are brought in earlier in the comic than their introduction into the classic novels. The primary characters to mention are Wyzca, and Grofield (spelled Grofeld in book version, and changed back to Grofield in The Score). Unlike Parker, Grofield is upbeat, humorous, but still a professional, making him the perfect teammate for Parker, who carries a permanent scowl, and rarely has a sense of humor. Wyzca is in one segment and manipulates two of The Outfit’s employees against each other. Grofield works directly with Parker and Handy to knock over one of The Outfits operations. Both of these scenes are part of four heists drawn in different art styles by Cooke. My favorite scene in the John Flynn film adaptation of The Outfit surrounding a stolen car dealer, his brother and his brother’s nymphomaniac wife is missing from Cooke’s adaptation, but is replaced with Grofield’s introduction and a condensed version of The Man With the Getaway Face. I love both of these new scenes and enjoy that Cooke plays around with the Parker storyline and adds his own ideas to it.
The Outfit is a lot more action packed. It has a massive gunfight at the end, compared to the climax of The Hunter which was much more calm and atmospheric. The sequence revolving around four heists from different crews that knock off The Outfit has varying art styles that show off the different dynamics of each operation and heister, and keeps the heists interesting. If Darwyn Cooke retained his usual retro cartoonish, but classy style throughout all four heists, it would have gotten stale, and unnecessary. Cooke proves he knows the perfect point in which to change up the aesthetic in order to keep the readers interest –– plus there was already a great armored car heist during the first chapter using Cooke’s usual Parker art style.
Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of The Outfit keeps the spirit of Parker alive while also allowing Cooke to bring in more of his creativity to the project. This comic is one of my favorite reads, and my favorite of Cooke’s work on Parker. Read it, but read The Hunter first, because together, they are a crime epic.
Favorite Scene: The entire first chapter is balls to the wall. It starts with a kickass, James Bond style attempted assassination, that contains an amazing rendition of Bett Harrow in all her twisted, sexy glory. It moves on to a great flashback/adaptation of The Man With the Getaway Face that contains a bitchin’ armored car heist. It then moves into a great interrogation scene that shows Parker at his most brutal. This entire sequence is classic.
Written By Tyler Ducheneaux
Images by Darwyn Cooke