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‘Cain’ HC (graphic novel review)

Written by Walter Hill and Mike Benson
Art by Beni R. Lobel
Published by Dark Horse Comics


The newest trend in comic books seems to be when Hollywood people come along and decide to create comics.

This happened most famously recently with Keanu Reeves having a hit comic book. We have also seen the likes of Wesley Snipes and Oscar Isaac coming in and trying their hands at creating a new character.

The appeal is pretty obvious: they get to create, own, and experiment with a possible new IP. And why not?

The latest and greatest person from Hollywood to create something for comics is filmmaker Walter Hill.

Hill is known for fast paced action with strong characters. It totally makes sense that he would be interested in creating something like this.

Cain is about a blind hitman. We first see him plying his wares. It is a very interesting set up and the first scene gets right to the point without wasting any time. It only gets better from this part on too.

We get to learn a bit about Cain in the first pages of this book.

He’s got no ties to any organization out there. He is an independent contractor in the truest sense and he tries to keep everything pure. There is a lot connections between this character and the character of Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil. They both use their “senses” so that they can “see” and act. The difference is Murdock uses his powers to help people and Cain uses his to kill them.

Cain also has a huge drug problem as well as a drinking problem.

We get to see that unfold in this first book. He also has a predilection for women and we get to see how he handles that. Basically, Cain is not a nice guy or a good guy by any stretch of the imagination but he is very compelling. He is also about to find himself a bit over his head as some new story elements come into play. Cain’s entire world is about to get knocked upside down and he’s not going to see it coming. But he most certainly has to deal with it if he wants to survive.

The whole setup is really fun and engaging.

Hill and Benson create a good and solid character with Cain that carries the series through some of its more complex moments as well as some of the muddy ones that come along on the story. They set up their characters and world in a really great way but don’t do too much exploring rather than the usual. It is a bit rote and feels like they pulled the story out of a stock file, and just filled in different details.

Once the initial story elements are in place too, the story takes a bit of a spin. It tries to turn everything on its head. The problem with that is that I feel like they might have spun too hard with this one and gave themselves, and well as the reader, whiplash. It is sort of a shame too because as soon as they grabbed me, they made this turn. But that wasn’t the worst part for me.

What was the worst part?

Well, the whole book just sort of ends.

I get that it is the first part of a larger story and I respect that, but there wasn’t enough here to give the book a satisfying conclusion to this chapter. It just this sort of nebulous thing, and it doesn’t give us any clues as to what the scope is as well as what we can possibly expect from this book. It felt like a little more than a bit of a a tease to be honest.

The writing by Hill and Benson is the best part and the true reason to pick up this book.

Both create an interesting and compelling character with Cain, and it shows up on the page. I enjoyed that part of the book. The same can be said about Beni R. Lobel’s artwork here as well. It is very well drawn and the storytelling is impeccable. I just wish it felt a little bit more whole for me. It could have been a great book instead of merely a “good” one.


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