cover image Tyler Cross: Black Rock

Tyler Cross: Black Rock

Fabien Nury and Brüno. Titan Comics, $24.99 (104p) ISBN 978-1-78586-730-9

Professional robber Tyler Cross must steal 20 one-kilo bricks of pure Mexican heroin from drug dealers in 1950s Rio Bravo, Tex., for which he will be paid 150 grand, in this top-notch noir comic. When the heist goes bad, Cross, broke and on foot, makes his way to the town of Black Rock, where he awaits a wire transfer of cash from his lawyer. He finds himself stuck there, however, due to the machinations of the Praggs, an oil-rich dynasty that holds the town in a grip of fear and uses immigrant slave labor to work its mines. Other characters include a reluctant bride and the opposing forces from two organized crime families, one of which wants Cross dead. This explosive mixture roils to an apocalyptic climax. Writer Nury (The Death of Stalin) and illustrator Bruno (Inner City Blues) grant the piece their signature bande dessinée flavor. Operating in a similar vein to Richard Stark’s classic Parker crime novels, the reader roots for the bad guy while being kept aware that he’s a vicious piece of work. This ongoing series is sophisticated stuff, featuring some notably nasty moments in a hard-hitting genre winner. (Sept.)