COMIC REVIEW: Good Cop Bad Cop

This Glaswegian cop seems pretty run of the mill on the surface, a hard-working policeman determined to stop bad guys. But he has the luxury of having a side to him who doesn’t care about consequences, or kicking a few heads in.

“Jim Alexander delivers a story that hits you like a punch to the solar plexus, an unrelenting chronicle of crime, violence and depravity – and that’s just from the hero.”  — John Wagner
Good Cop Bad Cop is a modern crime take on Jekyll and Hyde where the ‘good cop’ and ‘bad cop’ happen to be the same person.  Created and written by Jim Alexander (Metal Hurlant Chronicles, Star Trek Manga) and drawn by Garry McLaughlin (Junkie Dad), Will Pickering (Burke and Hare) and Luke Cooper (Hollow Girl).  It has a cover by Alex Ronald (Vampire Vixens) and introduction by John Wagner (Judge Dredd, A History of Violence).

Writer Jim Alexander doesn’t shy away from the brutality in this book, which is also littered with dark humour and a strangely moral core. Our split personality detective, Fisher, convinces himself that if he kills three times he’ll turn himself in. He’s had strike one in the third very bleak story ‘Three Strikes’. We get the feeling he could change his mind by strike three. It’s interesting seeing the detective give into his carnal urges more easily with each passing transition. The physicality of him changes only slightly, which makes him more menacing. He’s a monster who looks just like us, instead of a huge raging mammoth.

The violence inflicted on the bad guys is gleefully executed by each artist, but it’s Luke Cooper who captures the most shocking violent scenes with unflinching brutality by forcing the reader to watch a long drawn out torture scene that’s unsettling and upsetting. This is from the final story on the book ‘Tiny Acts of Kindness’, which leaves the book on a terrifying end note, with the promise things are going to get much darker in the next book.

The stories are broken up by written police reports, written by Detective Fisher or his alter ego. They are brilliantly written by Jim Alexander and a nice way to break up the sequentials. They start off calmly enough until something in the action sets off his nasty side, and it can be the tiniest thing. The font changes to show the personality shift and the language becomes courser and often laden with some hysterical profanities.

These case reports delve a bit more into the detective’s personality too, understanding what pushes him over the edge. It also reinforces the idea that everyone is capable of letting their inner Hyde run rampant.

There’s five stories in all, we very much enjoyed the short ‘Mrs MacPhellimey a funny and quite dark tale, it’s a great contrast to the next story ‘Three Strikes a very shocking and downbeat story, which reminds us that the good guys don’t always win. Each artist has a strong and distinctive style, we really enjoyed Luke Coopers cartoon hyper-violent section, while Will Pickering had a more traditional comic style, which lent itself well to his mystery. Garry McLaughlin does a great job with very different stories, his style lends itself well to humour and viciousness, all scratchy and wild.

The only thing with the stories is that some felt a little familiar, in terms of police procedural plotting, but the final tale really elevated the book and made us keen to see what happens next to the detective. We also enjoyed the fact that the comic was all black and white. It lent itself well to the harshness of the stories.

We’d love a Hyde aspect to our persona. A creature we can’t control who eliminates all the nasty problems and people we encounter who make life difficult, so it’s wonderful seeing very bad people getting their just deserts. It’s out after January 24th when it launches in Plan B Books in Glasgow and you can get your hands on a copy here for only £7.99.

Rating: 4/5

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