Comic Review: Turf #4

Turf #4 Cover

After huge delay the fourth installment of Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards’ debut comic was released a couple of weeks ago. I have loved the series so far, however, things have seemed to be moving quite slowly and the same reoccurring details seem to be brought back with each issue.  The leadership battle in the Strigoli (the Vampires) tribe, for example, has been thrown around from character to character, even though we know who is actually directing the proverbial show.

Anyhow, for anyone who hasn’t been reading this series, I’ll let you know what you need to know, spoiler-free of course. In 1920s New York, Gangsters own the place. Until a strange new family moves into town and mob killings take place, that family is the Strigoli and they are in New York to claim the land that was once theirs. A young female reporter named Susie is trying to get a big scoop on what’s going on, but gets in deeper than she could have imagined and uncovers the strange truth of these killings. Meanwhile, an alien spaceship has crash landed and is found by a wounded Mob Boss, Eddie Falco, who gets healed and becomes half alien. Prin, the alien, decides to help Eddie take back the city from the Strigoli family. That is pretty much where we are up to at this point in the story, so read on to see what I thought of this issue.

Firstly, Jonathan Ross’ whole concept, as I have said before, is fantastic (on paper). I’m in love with 1920s New York and the whole Gangster scene, and the fact that it has a sci-fi twist with the addition of Prin is great. I could take or leave the Vampires though, but it does add a more sinister feel to the comic, which is married beautifully with the 1920s setting. The main, but understandable, objection with every issue so far is the amount of words on a page. Seriously, you need a good 20 minuets to sit down and read the whole issue. But I guess Ross will refine that as he writes more and more, nonetheless you can actually see a progression with each issue and the latest one is the best yet from that point of view. Another gripe is that the story is quite hard to understand. All the little details and many characters are hard to keep track of, especially when there is a lot going on. You do have to read each issue at least twice.

The opening scene to issue 4 is bloody brilliant. The lyrics to Makin’ Whoopee by Eddie Cantor are floated across each panel while a disturbing massacre scene takes place in the background. It really sets the tone for the comic and is really quite unsettling. It is the kind of scene that would work perfectly in a Goodfellas-style movie, but I think the jump back to Sci-Fi/Supernatural doesn’t work straight away and it takes you out of the immersion of the first scene. I think that is the main problem with the series as a whole. Jumping from on element to another, with lots to remember from each, takes you out of the immersion. Each of the three genres work great on their own, and maybe if there was just two of them, the comic would benefit as it seems a little too ambitious for Ross to juggle all three genres on his debut book. In fact, it would be great to see an Eddie Falco and Prin spin-off series. That would be fantastic. Although, in saying that, he does a pretty good job. But as I said, you have to read it through a couple of times.

On the art side of things Tommy Lee Edwards brings his A-Game with every single issue. I love the sketchy lines; it really gives a sense of urgency to the book. I can’t imagine Turf without Tommy. He draws expressions superbly; you can get the gist of what’s going on from just looking at the art. The test of a true master has been passed, well done indeed.

Overall I really enjoyed this comic, and the series as a whole. I’ll definitely be picking the final issue up as I’m invested in the characters and have to find out how the story concludes. Also, any chance to see some brilliant Edwards’s art is one that I’ll grip with both hands. In spite of that, I wouldn’t recommend you purchase this issue, you should wait for the trade. I think that to read the story as a whole without interruption will be great, and that’s what I’ll be doing when it finally comes out.

GS Reviewer: Tom

Follow me on twitter @Tom_1994

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