White Suits is the type of book that has its own gravitational pull. I’m not joking when I say this. It will literally suck you into the story and you can either fight with all of your strength to break orbit or you can give in and let this madhouse of a story take hold. In my case, I’ve always been a sucker for a good story with some mystery, intrigue, and just a skosh of violence. And by skosh I mean I could probably paint my walls with the amount of blood spilt in this issue. I know the White Suits were originally featured in a Dark Horse Presents last year, but I’m really glad I found it now because Frank J. Barbiere and Toby Cypress have created an engaging book that’s as wonderfully written as it is visually stunning.
We start with a man haunted by memories of a past he can’t truly remember. There are fragments, scars, of a former life, but he can’t quite piece it all together. All he knows is there’s a sickening white grin plaguing his psyche and a young woman has been following him for some time. Despite the memory loss, he knows when someone’s trying to hide in plain sight and he intends to figure out why she’s been keeping tabs on him. His pursuit of answers, however, may prove more fruitful than he thought when it turns out his stalker might be the key to unlocking his past. In the crime-ridden facets of the book’s unnamed city, the White Suits have returned and they have their own vendetta to settle. It’s enough to scare every crime boss within a five-mile radius and new alliances are formed, though this may be exactly what the White Suits want.
Like I said, the book pulls you in and demands your attention. Barbiere keeps the dialogue and the narration sparse, but he makes it count, which is what every noir story should do. White Suits is post-Cold War noir at its finest with Barbiere setting up a playground for visual storytelling that is fantastically rendered in the off-kilter and quasi-surrealist artwork of Toby Cypress. There isn’t an angle unexplored within the pages as faces are slightly distorted and limbs are elongated all for the sake of creating the sensation of movement within the panels. There’s also an ugliness to the art, but not in a bad way. The unevenness of the art, the dirty, frenetic style, actually help sell the reality of the book. The striking use of color within the story makes the pages pop. Though the book is mostly in black and white, Cypress regularly utilizes red to emphasize the violent actions of the characters, but he also uses the color as part of a lighting technique that gives White Suits a very distinctive style. The most color that every fills a page is to create a contrast to the titular White Suits in order to distinguish them from the background. But when one of the White Suits in particular infiltrates a gangster’s hideout, it’s a beautiful display of Cypress’ art and color work.
Rating – 9/10
Final Thoughts: For all that blood, those suits are impeccable. Those are the types of assassins I like!