October: Parker Month; The Influence:
Richard Stark’s Parker The Score by Darwyn Cooke Review
I always say that The Outfit is my favorite Parker comic, but every time I read The Score, I question that decision. I still consider The Outfit to be my favorite, but I am damn certain that The Score is the best heist comic and has one of the best heists of all time.
A whole town! Parker and his crew rob an entire town, the town of Copper Canyon, North Dakota. A mining town surrounded by a canyon, just waiting to be robbed. The time has come and Parker hesitantly joins a job to rob Copper Canyon. The heist is introduced by Edgars, who has a personal vendetta against the town (read the book to know what it is). Parker is impressed by the ballsiness of the heist, and starts planning it out. Many old associates return, such as Salsa, Grofield and Wyzca, along with the new, fellow heisters. The only man to decline is Handy McKay.
The story is genius. Like a heist, it starts as a plan, laid out and prepared, and once all the pieces are in place, it is executed with insane precision. Cooke already laid out the important characters in The Outfit, giving the reader time to learn more about characters like Edgars, Paulus, and Mary Deegan. The best character, by far, is Grofield, who really gets to shine. He and Parker are the perfect team, knowing exactly how to work together during a job. Grofield always retains his charm, but, shows true heart when he actually has to stand up to Parker, due to a mistake Grofield makes during the heist.
The first two quarters of the book are dedicated to planning the heist. Cooke and Stark give the reader everything in serious detail. The equipment, maps, outlines, different jobs – before, during and after the heist – are all shown. The reader will have such a full understanding of the heist that when it happens during that third quarter of the book, they will feel the stress of the situation and hope, like the heisters, that everything goes according to plan. As you can probably guess, it doesn’t go according to plan. The final quarter of the story deals with the aftermath of the heist as tension continues to build. The Score is one wild ride.
Cooke changes up his usual color scheme of painted blue tones mixed with inked drawings, to brighter yellow and orange tones. The blue tones work for an overcast cityscape, or seedy night time encounters. The brighter colors in The Score emphasize the new barren setting and the bursts of heat, such as explosions and gunfire, that come with the heist and aftermath. Read this comic: it takes a small town and a small group of people, and creates an epic piece of crime fiction.
Favorite Scene: The Heist, it is one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever had reading a comic.
Written By: Tyler Ducheneaux
Images By Darwyn Cooke