GRAPHIC NOVELS

Lonesome Days, Savage Nights. Vol. 1: The Manning Files

TKO. Nov. 2020. 160p. ISBN 9781952203114. pap. $19.99. crime fiction
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Rookie cop Stu Manning is shattered when his lifelong dream of becoming a cop ends in disgrace after he loses his gun in a scuffle with a mysterious beastlike attacker. But getting fired proves much less disturbing than the discovery that his assailant was a werewolf and now he is, too. With the support of girlfriend Audrey, Stu capitalizes on his newly heightened senses and abilities by becoming a private investigator and settles into a comfortable domestic existence, which is tragically cut short when Audrey is gunned down by vicious gangsters. Hellbent on vengeance, Stu launches an investigation into the gang and its leader, a sadistic businessman. Gory violence ensues as Stu and the gangsters attack and counter-attack each other, with neither side interested in deescalating. When an innocent woman named Stacey and her son get caught up in the carnage, Stu must rein in his animalistic fury if he’s going to hold on to his humanity.
VERDICT Illustrator Kudranski’s (Superman: Action Comics. Vol. 3: Leviathan Hunt) use of eerie red and purple tones to highlight otherwise murkily dark scenes is truly stunning. Otherwise, this is a relatively stock noir story line enlivened, but not quite redeemed, by an infusion of horror tropes.

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