Potter's Field by Mark Waid. Art by Paul Azaceta. Introduction by Greg Rucka (US) - (Canada)
Pages: 112 pages
Finished: Apr. 25, 2010
First Published: Mar. 9, 2010
Publisher: Boom! Stuidos
Genre: graphic novel, crime noir
Marker 36905 belongs to a drug mule who wanted out.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.
Reason for Reading: I've become a fan of Mark Waid.
John Doe is a mysterious vigilante who fights to name the unnamed in Potter's Field, a graveyard in New York City where the unidentified bodies are buried. He has an underground network of agents working for him from coroners to street people and he'll never give up until he's chiseled a name on a gravestone. John himself is just as mysterious as those he tries to help. No one knows his real name, where he comes from, his background or why he does this; the man doesn't even have any fingerprints!
This bind-up consists of the original three-volume mini series and a one shot issue plus a script & sketches for an unpublished story. The book also begins with an introduction by Greg Rucka and ends with a few pages of character sketches of John Doe by the artist. This is also a very attractive hardcover book with a matte finish dust jacket and an attached ribbon bookmark; when the jacket is removed the plain black boards reveals "JOHN DOE" etched on the front as if on a cemetery plaque.
A fabulous read! Compared in the introduction to Raymond Chandler this is classic crime noir set in the modern world. All together from the four issues we get three separate episodic stories. These are dark, gritty, nighttime tales of a guy walking into a bar looking for someone and creeping into dark hallways with a flashlight. Quite a lot of violence, but though everyone carries guns they are more likely to hit someone across the head with it than shoot them. The violence is more physical, punching, clobbering with foreign objects, heads in toilets, face on a hot grill, and so on. I really enjoyed the stories which each was very different from the other; the first involved a missing girl, the next was mob related and the last was cops gone bad. Great action-packed story telling. The artwork is also suitably matched, very dark and urban. I really enjoyed this and will be looking for further crime graphic novels as well as continuing to read Mark Waid.