- Story: Frank J. Barbiere
- Art: Toby Cypress
- Colors: Toby Cypress
- Letters: Toby Cypress
- Cover: Toby Cypress
- Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Style can make or break a comic. As a visual medium, it thrives on the art style presented and, even if the story is masterful, the type of illustration can keep you from becoming fully invested if it is lackluster. Everyone has their own preferences, but they also have individual standards that, when not met, can convince a reader to put the book down. The White Suits is an action packed blockbuster that, like the blood within its pages, drips with style. Equal parts graphic, violent, and artistic, you’ll have a hard time looking away from this piece of thrilling visual chaos.
In The White Suits, creator Frank J. Barbiere builds a post-Cold War narrative that centers around a group of well-dressed assassins tearing their way through the criminal underworld. They’ve resurfaced from their Russian past and now Sarah Anderson finds a link to her missing father in these ivory clad killers. Who exactly are the White Suits? If you can stick it out through all the death and mayhem, you just might find out.
If you ever wanted a Quentin Tarantino movie in comic book format, you will want to pick up this trade paperback immediately. Frank mentions his love for the sadistic filmmaker, along with comic bloodletters Frank Miller and Ed Brubaker, and this Dark Horse book wears its inspirations on its sleeve. Half-revenge flick, half-mystery thriller, all bombast, The White Suits is a tried and true narrative that’s fun and exciting, if a little well-worn. The author obviously has a deep love and understanding for this type of story, and because of that familiarity he creates a plot you are comfortable with and ready to invest in right off the bat. It would be nice to see something a little more unique attached to the illustrations, but Barbiere deserves praise for a fresh spin on an old story.
The true stand out here is artist Toby Cypress, thanks to his high-velocity and frenetic art. Using black, white, and red to their utmost capabilities, Cypress paints a surreal world of killers, cops, and psychopaths. The limited color palette could have easily come off as underwhelming, like an art school student trying to look “edgy” with splashes of red for blood on bodies of black ink and white paper. Here, however, the use of deadly crimson is diverse and it feels as though you are reading a book drawn by a graphic designer. It has a surreal bent to it with an over-exaggeration of features for the characters and s diversity of layout choices, making it a veritable stockpile of engrossing imagery. Barbiere requests that everyone check out more of Toby’s work in the afterword and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s remarkably twisted, as all stories of revenge should be.
The White Suits deserves a place beside any Tarantino movie, your Sin City collection, or whatever mad creation Brubaker whips up next. It’s bursting with style and has enough substance for you to get your fill without feeling stuffed. The recipe is one you’ve had dozens of times before, but damn if these ingredients are not amazing this go around. Pack your pistols, throw on your best threads, and prepare to see red, this book is out for blood.
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