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November 14, 2010

Image Reviews: Turf #3

Turf #3
Publisher:
Image
Writer: Jonathan Ross
Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
Cover: Tommy Lee Edwards

“Bad Fellas!”: I’m completely floored by how good this series has been so far! I’ve addmitingly been a bit burnt out on vampires for quite some time, and when Turf came along you could say I was a lot more than skeptical. You also throw in the fact that this is Jonathan Ross’s first comic and you’ve got a guy who almost passed on what has quickly become a favorite. I’m glad curiosity got the better of me, and those Tommy Lee Edwards covers didn’t hurt either!

This issue of Turf takes us deeper into the rabbit hole as the Dragonmir’s plans for the world are laid out, and the gangster Eddie Falco and the stranded alien simply known as Squeed have a meeting of the minds, so to speak. While a massive police force is led to a vampire all you can eat buffet and betrayed by one of their own. Through all of this nightmare, reporter Susie Randall has manged to not only escape the Dragonmir Mansion, but gain an ally, and ends up finding out more about the Clan than even they know.

Squeed and Eddie Falco getting acquainted

Ross just continues to dominate this book with great dialog to go along with Edwards’s fantastic artwork. Visually this issue is the strongest so far, and that could be due to the fact that we’re able to see more of Edwards’s work. There were less word balloons clogging up the panels than in the first issue, which was a bit of a deterrent for me while I was reading it. Tommy’s spread of the mind link between Falco and Squeed, along with the flash backs for O’Leary were two great sequences. Even though O’Leary’s memories held a small part, it was that change in art style that helped carry the sequence further.

Ross does a fine job with the parallels between Squeed and Falco’s life experiences, and I like the fact that only Falco can understand Squeed’s language. Kind of reminds me of a Han and Chewie type of relationship as we get to see them interact more and more. Now as much as I’m impressed with Ross’s story, one part in this issue pretty much had my eyes rolling. The particular panel shows Falco telling Squeed that they need a new gang that knows what it’s like to have the odds stacked against them. To me this automatically meant: cue up the Black gang from Harlem! I was right on both counts, and that pretty much irritated me. This is just a set up that was too predictable, and after having seen it way too many times, I just felt that either the lead in could have been better or they should have used a different ethnic group altogether.

I also took issue with cover C to Turf #3 drawn by William Stout, with his caricatures of the Harlem gangsters. The vampire and alien look great, but when you are drawing Black characters in a style that was used to basically demean and ridicule them, then it makes it a bit hard to look at that cover and smile. There’s also the panel during O’Leary’s memories as two of the boys are being attacked that uses “Sambo” type imagery, and I was a bit pissed at seeing that. Especially when a lot of cartoons that had that type of animation had it cut out (Disney’s Song of the South), or it’s just not shown anymore due to the negative imagery of Black characters. Now I’m not saying there was malicious intent here, just probably a bit of ignorance, but it does make me uncomfortable that someone saw those images and thought that it would be okay to print.

I will say that for $2.99, Ross is giving the reader their money’s worth with Turf, and that’s more than I can say for a lot of books hitting the shelves as of late. So what may look like just random types of characters thrown together ends up being a lot more than a mash up of aliens, gangsters, and vampires. It’s great story telling and art coming together to blow your mind! Despite my concerns with this issue, I’m still on board to finish the series in hopes that the story keeps getting better, and that I don’t run across those “Sambo” types of images again.

Infinite Speech
infinitespeech@comicattack.net

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