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Friend of the Devil: A Reckless Book

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The next book in the red-hot Reckless series is here! Bestselling crime noir masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are back with another new original graphic novel featuring troublemaker-for-hire Ethan Reckless. It's 1985 and things in Ethan's life are going pretty well... until a missing woman shows up in the background of an old B-movie, and Ethan is drawn into Hollywood's The next book in the red-hot Reckless series is here! Bestselling crime noir masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are back with another new original graphic novel featuring troublemaker-for-hire Ethan Reckless. It's 1985 and things in Ethan's life are going pretty well... until a missing woman shows up in the background of an old B-movie, and Ethan is drawn into Hollywood's secret occult underbelly as he hunts for her among the wreckage of the wild days of the '70s. "No one does crime fic like Brubaker and Phillips, and their collaboration has never felt more new. Explosive. Vital. And yes... reckless." - Damon Lindelof (LOST, HBO's WATCHMEN) Another hit graphic novel from the award-winning creators of PULP, MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES, CRIMINAL, and KILL OR BE KILLED -- a must-have for all Brubaker and Phillips fans! And look for the next standalone book in the Reckless series in October!


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The next book in the red-hot Reckless series is here! Bestselling crime noir masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are back with another new original graphic novel featuring troublemaker-for-hire Ethan Reckless. It's 1985 and things in Ethan's life are going pretty well... until a missing woman shows up in the background of an old B-movie, and Ethan is drawn into Hollywood's The next book in the red-hot Reckless series is here! Bestselling crime noir masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are back with another new original graphic novel featuring troublemaker-for-hire Ethan Reckless. It's 1985 and things in Ethan's life are going pretty well... until a missing woman shows up in the background of an old B-movie, and Ethan is drawn into Hollywood's secret occult underbelly as he hunts for her among the wreckage of the wild days of the '70s. "No one does crime fic like Brubaker and Phillips, and their collaboration has never felt more new. Explosive. Vital. And yes... reckless." - Damon Lindelof (LOST, HBO's WATCHMEN) Another hit graphic novel from the award-winning creators of PULP, MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES, CRIMINAL, and KILL OR BE KILLED -- a must-have for all Brubaker and Phillips fans! And look for the next standalone book in the Reckless series in October!

30 review for Friend of the Devil: A Reckless Book

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    It’s 1985, Satanic panic is in the Californian air and Ethan Reckless has a new case: find the missing step-sister of a librarian - but is it too late? Friend of the Devil is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ second Reckless book and it’s much less exciting than the first one unfortunately. That’s my biggest complaint: barely anything interesting happens for nearly 2/3rds of the book! The story is mostly a dull procedural as we watch Reckless slowly putting the pieces of the mystery together. The c It’s 1985, Satanic panic is in the Californian air and Ethan Reckless has a new case: find the missing step-sister of a librarian - but is it too late? Friend of the Devil is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ second Reckless book and it’s much less exciting than the first one unfortunately. That’s my biggest complaint: barely anything interesting happens for nearly 2/3rds of the book! The story is mostly a dull procedural as we watch Reckless slowly putting the pieces of the mystery together. The case itself is unremarkable with aspects such as cliched Hollywood sleaze and stock Satanists with the usual dumb agenda. Still, it was informative in highlighting the influx of Vietnamese immigrants that arrived in America following the fall of Saigon, and the action finale isn’t bad. As expected, given that this is by Brubaker/Phillips, Friend of the Devil is competently written and drawn, and it has its moments - it’s not a bad comic - but it’s just not as fun as the first book and is quite a forgettable story. Hopefully the third book, Destroy All Monsters, out later this year, will be more of a barnstormer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Brubaker and Phillips tackle the Satanic Panic of the 70's and 80's. Brubaker taps into the zeitgeist fueled by Helter Skelter, Rosemary's Baby. and Son of Sam, when I was growing up and it was always lurking in the back of your brain that there could be a Satanic cult out to get you. Ethan Reckless is back looking into the missing sister of his Vietnamese girlfriend. If you like your noir sun-soaked by the California sun, then this is the book for you. Received a review copy from Image and Edelw Brubaker and Phillips tackle the Satanic Panic of the 70's and 80's. Brubaker taps into the zeitgeist fueled by Helter Skelter, Rosemary's Baby. and Son of Sam, when I was growing up and it was always lurking in the back of your brain that there could be a Satanic cult out to get you. Ethan Reckless is back looking into the missing sister of his Vietnamese girlfriend. If you like your noir sun-soaked by the California sun, then this is the book for you. Received a review copy from Image and Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    We haven't had a new Brubaker/Phillips book for two months or so, so here's the second Ethan Reckless book! And it's better than the first one. More pulp themes - druggy cults, Nazis, skinheads. It all ticks over nicely, and there's s nice sense of dread, building in the story. The only thing missing is that certain pain, that ache they seem to always get right in the Criminal series. Phillips' art is sublime, as always. (Picked up an ARC through Edelweiss) We haven't had a new Brubaker/Phillips book for two months or so, so here's the second Ethan Reckless book! And it's better than the first one. More pulp themes - druggy cults, Nazis, skinheads. It all ticks over nicely, and there's s nice sense of dread, building in the story. The only thing missing is that certain pain, that ache they seem to always get right in the Criminal series. Phillips' art is sublime, as always. (Picked up an ARC through Edelweiss)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    In the second volume of this new series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, is unlicensed “private investigator” Ethan Reckless. . . reckless? Hell, yes, he is, that is what we’re paying for, right? Reckless narrates as we learn from the first chapter title that “1985 Was a Bad Year,” but every year in every Criminal or the new Reckless series is a bad year for everyone, always, so ha. 1985, and Reckless is doing a few favors for friends, not going anywhere, but when he is in the library researchi In the second volume of this new series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, is unlicensed “private investigator” Ethan Reckless. . . reckless? Hell, yes, he is, that is what we’re paying for, right? Reckless narrates as we learn from the first chapter title that “1985 Was a Bad Year,” but every year in every Criminal or the new Reckless series is a bad year for everyone, always, so ha. 1985, and Reckless is doing a few favors for friends, not going anywhere, but when he is in the library researching the disappearance of some guy, Richard Fuller, when he meets librarian Linh Tran, the daughter of a Vietnamese refugee and a Viet Nam vet. It’s a decade after the arrival of the Vietnamese immigrants post-war, the “boat people” (some of whom that I first met in Holland, Michigan when I taught there). Reckless finds Richard Fuller, who faked his own suicide to start a new family, tryng to get emotionally connected to the good parts of his own past. Reckless, too, is disconnected, lost in old films and tv shows, until Linh, who never talks about her past, discovers her missing sister, Maggie, in a film they watch. This leads Reckless to try and find what happened to Maggie for Linh’s sake. Thus commences the sort of detective procedural that is familiar to readers of mystery/noir, taking us into the paranoia of the time in LA/Hollywood: Satanic Cults, where hippies are seen as turning from flower children to sex cult mass murderers ala Charlie Manson in Helter Skelter; Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and so much else in the news during those days. *I love the artwork as always. *I love the dialogue. *I love the way Brubaker the threads and themes of his tale, including the way these cults of the sixties are similar to the violet neo-Nazi skinheads and their anti-refugee hatred. You know the title is a reference to the Grateful Dead song, but Brubaker is so widely and deeply read in the history of pop culture that you can revel in his references throughout. “On the Carousel of Time”??! Joni Mitchell' "Circle Game" in a brutal noir crime comic?! But Brubaker is a “literary” noir writer, or sub-textual writer, just as Sean Phillips is that kind of artist. And this is an example, too, of Brubaker being entertaining, expanding the horizon of what we can expect in a crime story in a playful way. This may not be at the very highest level of everything this team has done, since the story is kind of straightforward there for a while, but this is still head and shoulders better than anything else out there in crime comics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I had some reservations about the first book in this series, but this dark adventure is pretty flawless when it comes to tough-guy crime thrillers. It knows what it wants to do and gets its knuckles bloody getting there. Here's hoping the third book this fall continues the upward trend. I had some reservations about the first book in this series, but this dark adventure is pretty flawless when it comes to tough-guy crime thrillers. It knows what it wants to do and gets its knuckles bloody getting there. Here's hoping the third book this fall continues the upward trend.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Subham

    Brubaker and Philips present another book with Ethan as he is investigating into the disappearance of a man named Richard Fuller and his whereabouts where he meets this woman named Linh Tran a Vietnamese and we follow their love story until we learn of her sister and Ethan being the guy he is starts investigating into her disappearance and he follows the clues of old Hollywood and the rise of the late 70s satanish cults and we follow him as he finds about her roommates, producers and weird thing Brubaker and Philips present another book with Ethan as he is investigating into the disappearance of a man named Richard Fuller and his whereabouts where he meets this woman named Linh Tran a Vietnamese and we follow their love story until we learn of her sister and Ethan being the guy he is starts investigating into her disappearance and he follows the clues of old Hollywood and the rise of the late 70s satanish cults and we follow him as he finds about her roommates, producers and weird things and mysteries and suspense until its eventual conclusion. Its a great mystery and a good 80s detective noir-ish tale and has good pop culture references but nothing like the first one, the mystery is cool but there is not a lot of action but good hook with what maggie was actually up to and the conclusion was as expected. Its a good one time read and reminds you of Magnum PI episodes but yeah good and fun one and Sean Phillips again is the highlight of this one!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cale

    Brubaker and Phillips are both at the top of their form with this one - building off of Reckless, we get an in-depth mystery as Reckless tries to track down what happened in a cold missing persons case, only to cause things to heat up again. If you like Brubaker's crime books, this is pretty much the apex of them, with a near perfect balance of investigation, action, character development, and twists. It goes some very dark places, occasionally even approaching the Fatale series, but still keeps Brubaker and Phillips are both at the top of their form with this one - building off of Reckless, we get an in-depth mystery as Reckless tries to track down what happened in a cold missing persons case, only to cause things to heat up again. If you like Brubaker's crime books, this is pretty much the apex of them, with a near perfect balance of investigation, action, character development, and twists. It goes some very dark places, occasionally even approaching the Fatale series, but still keeps a brighter palette. But the impact of the investigation weighs hard on the characters, and that's something you don't often see in books like this - the real emotional toll of the things you find. A definite recommendation for fans of crime fiction graphic novels, and one no fan of Brubaker's work in any genre should miss.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Appelcline

    The second volume of Reckless is almost as amazing as the first. Once again, it feels very personal, once again it reveals great characters. But what I really loved about this volume was how well it depicted the Satanic Panic — and the actual Satanic organizations that helped to kick it off. This feels very much like a letter in a bottle from 1985, and in Brubaker's rough, realistic form. Wonderful! The second volume of Reckless is almost as amazing as the first. Once again, it feels very personal, once again it reveals great characters. But what I really loved about this volume was how well it depicted the Satanic Panic — and the actual Satanic organizations that helped to kick it off. This feels very much like a letter in a bottle from 1985, and in Brubaker's rough, realistic form. Wonderful!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Looles

    Friend of the Devil: a Reckless book This graphic novel follows Ethan Reckless as he solves a missing person mystery. It's set in 1985 and it starts with Ethan meeting a Vietnamese woman named Linh Tran, while working on another job. They hit it off and start going out together. For some time they are very good together, until he learns about her step sister who disappeared eight years ago and he starts looking for her. The step sister, Maggie, had moved to Hollywood to try to make it as an actre Friend of the Devil: a Reckless book This graphic novel follows Ethan Reckless as he solves a missing person mystery. It's set in 1985 and it starts with Ethan meeting a Vietnamese woman named Linh Tran, while working on another job. They hit it off and start going out together. For some time they are very good together, until he learns about her step sister who disappeared eight years ago and he starts looking for her. The step sister, Maggie, had moved to Hollywood to try to make it as an actress and disappeared. Things get very complicated as Ethan discovers that cults get involved in the case and the hopes for finding her start disappearing. This was a great graphic novel. Ed Brubaker's writing is incredible. All the action and the mystery are great and the characters are even better. Ethan Reckless is a perfectly written character. He's very unique, but he's also not very different from a usual pulp novel/noir film protagonist. He has a very bleak point of view and he's very sarcastic and cynical. He's a complex characters with an interesting backstory and while he does some things that aren't very nice, he's still a good and very likeable guy. In my opinion, the best aspect of this graphic novel isn't the great mystery, nor the great characters, but the fact that it can be appreciated in multiple different ways. It can be appreciated as a very interesting mystery, as a fun action-packed story and many more, but most importantly as a story about how life can drain a person's soul and leave him empty. (From that point on there are some spoilers) That's what happened to Maggie. She moved to Hollywood, filled with dreams and hopes, but after she spent years without finding the success she hoped for, she eventually joined a cult. At that point she was desperate for the tiniest bit of acceptance and appreciation and she didn't have anything in her life that she thought was worth living for. Maggie is a fictional character, but that can happen to anyone (not the cult thing, but everything leading to that). Life is cruel and very few people manage to fulfill their dreams, especially when they are as ambitious as Maggie's. The artwork by Sean Phillips is really great. His artwork is always very good, but I think that it's even better in this graphic novel. All the characters are very easy to tell apart, their facial expressions are clear, the panel to panel storytelling is great and everything is beautiful. Sean is really great at drawing everything that's important for a mystery/noir story, but he also excels at drawing nature and building. All the exteriors in general are amazingly drawn. While Sean's artwork is great, it wouldn't have looked as good without Jacob Phillips' amazing colors. Jacob is easily one of the best colorists working in the industry today. He has a very distinctive style, which is very unique. His colors aren't realistic, but they are beautiful, they work perfectly well and they elevate Sean's artwork a lot. Jacob uses very different colors to indicate different moods and different times of the day, but in my opinion the best aspect of his coloring is his use of solid red. He uses this color in the background on panels filled with action that's crucial to the story. In the past he used to use it more often, in almost all the action scenes, but now he uses it less and in more important places and I think that that's a great improvement. Overall, I think that this was a great sequel to Reckless, but it can also be read as an amazing stand alone graphic novel. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in mysteries, or pulp stories, or action, or the way that life and hopes drain people's souls, or philosophy, because throughout the graphic novel there are thrown around multiple small bits of different philosophical ideas. 10/10

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I'm really digging the Reckless series. Ethan is a good protagonist without being too over the top. He blends in to the story amand adds just enough to keep the focus on the plot which is good, pulpy Brubaker fun. I'm really digging the Reckless series. Ethan is a good protagonist without being too over the top. He blends in to the story amand adds just enough to keep the focus on the plot which is good, pulpy Brubaker fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Very interesting and action packed. It’s kind of like true crime. I really liked Ethan as a character and how he’s kind of morally grey. This is graphic and kind of disturbing so be warned.

  12. 4 out of 5

    RG

    These guys doing what they do best. Cant wait for the next one in October

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    A drop in quality from the excellent first book in the Reckless series, but still worth a read if you can get it from the library, Hoopla, or a similar service. The Philips' artwork is as grimy and expressive as ever, but Brubaker's script suffers from a lot of the usual Brubaker-y weaknesses (an abrupt and anticlimactic ending, overwritten narration, etc.) that the first book gracefully avoided. Still, the Reckless series is meant to mimic the feel of paperback detective and "Men's Fiction" nov A drop in quality from the excellent first book in the Reckless series, but still worth a read if you can get it from the library, Hoopla, or a similar service. The Philips' artwork is as grimy and expressive as ever, but Brubaker's script suffers from a lot of the usual Brubaker-y weaknesses (an abrupt and anticlimactic ending, overwritten narration, etc.) that the first book gracefully avoided. Still, the Reckless series is meant to mimic the feel of paperback detective and "Men's Fiction" novels from the 70's and 80's, and a so-so second volume after a great debut is pretty common in that particular subgenre.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Great read, Brubaker and Phillips knock it out of the park as usual.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andy Green

    Fantastic read. As always the art is amazing and I didn't want to put it down. I love with Brubaker and Phillips are doing making Pulp comics. Can't wait for the next one in October. Fantastic read. As always the art is amazing and I didn't want to put it down. I love with Brubaker and Phillips are doing making Pulp comics. Can't wait for the next one in October.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chad Jordahl

    There are a few sub-standard panels (such as odd body proportions) but it's a minor gripe. Overall excellent. There are a few sub-standard panels (such as odd body proportions) but it's a minor gripe. Overall excellent.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Another great chapter from the files of Ethan Reckless, the physically scarred and emotionally numbed character who's a living embodiment of the disillusionment of post '60s America. If you like Dashiell Hammett, Charles Willeford, and/or Cutter's Way (1981), you're going to love this retro neo-noir crime stuff. I can't get enough. Another great chapter from the files of Ethan Reckless, the physically scarred and emotionally numbed character who's a living embodiment of the disillusionment of post '60s America. If you like Dashiell Hammett, Charles Willeford, and/or Cutter's Way (1981), you're going to love this retro neo-noir crime stuff. I can't get enough.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris Thompson

    Ethan Reckless can’t seem to take a case that doesn’t put him in mortal danger. Just as the first book in the series, Reckless, begins, this one starts out in the middle of the action, with Ethan wearing handcuffs attached to one wrist and being chased by armed bad guys. How did he get there? Does he survive, and how? I liked this one much more than the first book. It has some romance and the mystery Ethan is trying to solve is a slow build. There’s less action, but I’m the little there is is qui Ethan Reckless can’t seem to take a case that doesn’t put him in mortal danger. Just as the first book in the series, Reckless, begins, this one starts out in the middle of the action, with Ethan wearing handcuffs attached to one wrist and being chased by armed bad guys. How did he get there? Does he survive, and how? I liked this one much more than the first book. It has some romance and the mystery Ethan is trying to solve is a slow build. There’s less action, but I’m the little there is is quite effective. And of course, the art is great as always. It’s exciting that Brubaker continues to write such high quality comics, and the next one comes out in just a few short months.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    Phew. I really was puzzled by the first book to feature the stupidly-named Ethan Reckless, or more specifically why so many big names were calling it a big title when it did so little. I'd even dared call it out as the opener of a series I would not have continued with were it not for the creative team billed. But we're back on firmer ground here, and this is back to being a success. Ethan has got through one of those sort-of-PI jobs he does, and come out of it very well – on the arm of someone Phew. I really was puzzled by the first book to feature the stupidly-named Ethan Reckless, or more specifically why so many big names were calling it a big title when it did so little. I'd even dared call it out as the opener of a series I would not have continued with were it not for the creative team billed. But we're back on firmer ground here, and this is back to being a success. Ethan has got through one of those sort-of-PI jobs he does, and come out of it very well – on the arm of someone who helped him out. This is Linh Tran, a winsome Vietnamese librarian, and therefore already someone able to break down some stereotypical walls, but her past has a secret. When this stumbles out, with the help of Ethan's rundown cinema home and some old 16mm film reels, he's sent on a helter skelter into darkness. Again. So it's actually some chunk of the way through this book that you see the pattern the trilogy is making (although we're promised something very different later 2021 when the third part comes out). We're once more taking a historical look at an American cult, and once again in among the verbose comments from our main guide we're looking back at a specific time and seeing how the American dream soured. In the first book that aspect seemed tacked on – I knew there was a cause for the historical setting, but I never felt it essential, or even particularly relevant. Here, now we readers have a firmer grip on the steering wheel of this series we can judge which way the camber is taking us, and can go with the flow down the 'ooh, weren't the 80s dodgy? Drugs, hmm? Bad...' road more easily. And it helps too that the search for the solution is darker, more gripping, a bit fresher (well, unless you read specific kinds of books), and all told more engaging. No, it's not perfect – the final reveal about the baddy is a bit ripe, and the paid-by-the-word style is still a bit too much at times – but this to me was more of the quality I expect from a Brubaker product. Still, people generally loved Book One, so either they'll find this outstanding, or just swing in the other direction to me, and find it meh. And while I know how surprised I was to find these creators go that way last time, I am convinced that this fine book is most certainly not meh.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is the second entry in the Ethan Reckless series (I think?) - it's the second one I've read anyway. Loved it! Good stuff start to finish. Captures the burn-out vibe of the early '80s, left over from the angst of the '70s, almost perfectly. Hits a couple of the tried and true tropes along the way. Great fun, great art. Ethan Reckless recounts something that he was involved in "back in 1985". The presumption being that an older version of Ethan in something approximating the present is telling This is the second entry in the Ethan Reckless series (I think?) - it's the second one I've read anyway. Loved it! Good stuff start to finish. Captures the burn-out vibe of the early '80s, left over from the angst of the '70s, almost perfectly. Hits a couple of the tried and true tropes along the way. Great fun, great art. Ethan Reckless recounts something that he was involved in "back in 1985". The presumption being that an older version of Ethan in something approximating the present is telling the tale. It begins in the middle of the story/case at a moment of high conflict then flashes back to the beginning to show how it all got to that point and, once it catches up, continues from where we first came in. If that sounds confusing it's my fault for not explaining it well because it isn't at all hard to follow. It would be so easy to create a Steve McQueen-like cool character who is a protector of the downtrodden, driving a classic muscle car, over-the-top hip and stylish... These guys go a different way, Ethan Reckless is more of a reluctant knight errant who drives a crappy van and lives in a rundown movie theater. Cool in a more low-key way. Combines some of the elements of classic Mens Adventure novels with the hardscrabble '70s P.I. (think Jim Rockford) for a unique series that is both familiar and original. I will definitely be looking out for more in this series. I received a free digital copy of this title through Edelweiss.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rumi Bossche

    Whats better then a new Brubaker/Phillips hc? Another one ! ✊🏼 Friend of The Devil is the second book in the Reckless series, a new title dangling between, noir,  80s action, and a sort of hommage to old school paperbacks. They all can be read separate, but have the same mail character. Ethan Reckless a former 60s radical and undercover agent for the CIA, now works as a sort of trouble shooter slash private eye, he works from a old movie theatre and takes all kinds of jobs. This volume has some Whats better then a new Brubaker/Phillips hc? Another one ! ✊🏼 Friend of The Devil is the second book in the Reckless series, a new title dangling between, noir,  80s action, and a sort of hommage to old school paperbacks. They all can be read separate, but have the same mail character. Ethan Reckless a former 60s radical and undercover agent for the CIA, now works as a sort of trouble shooter slash private eye, he works from a old movie theatre and takes all kinds of jobs. This volume has some simmularities with Scène of the Crime, a older Brubaker book that recently got a reprint. They both are with a private eye, and a girl gone missing surrounding a sort of 70s vibe cult. While Scène was really good, this one is so much better. You really see the growth of both writer and artist, and i already see a big improvement with the first Reckless, which was good, but not as good as this one. As Brubaker explains in a afterword, he really grew up in the mid 70s angst of cults, with the Son of Sam stuff and the Manson murders, and it really shows. Mixed in with his love for noir and cinema, and b movies, (all things i love aswell) and a Sean Philips that has never been better, especially with the backgrounds and research that has been done on this title and still making it fun and fast is for me as a Brubaker fan still mindblowing. Also the thought that there will be  third one this year already is something really unheard off. Dont sleep on this one! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  22. 5 out of 5

    HowardtheDuck95

    “It’s like we’re all just trying to get back to something, y’know? Some time before it all felt so wrong.” That about sums up this new volume of Reckless. It, like the first, about the broken remnants of the 60’s and 70’s rearing their ugly heads in 80’s Los Angeles. The first, it was the hippies and the Weather Underground style movements. Here…it’s something darker. The other fork in the road when those movements went bleaker and blacker. Shades of the darker parts of Once Upon a Time in Hollyw “It’s like we’re all just trying to get back to something, y’know? Some time before it all felt so wrong.” That about sums up this new volume of Reckless. It, like the first, about the broken remnants of the 60’s and 70’s rearing their ugly heads in 80’s Los Angeles. The first, it was the hippies and the Weather Underground style movements. Here…it’s something darker. The other fork in the road when those movements went bleaker and blacker. Shades of the darker parts of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Ethan in this one goes down a rabbit hole right into hell, all for a love that can’t last. It’s heartbreaking but it’s compelling in equal measure. Another thing I’d like to note I like is how it subtextually and just plain textually connects these things to problems still going on in the area. If like me, you listen to podcasts like Behind the Bastards and remember the news a while back, there’s some real white supremacy problems in the area this book takes place in, Orange County/Huntington Beach. (Check out their episodes on the RAM Nazi fight club for more details what I’m referring to.) Phillips (both Sean’s lines and Jacob’s colors) work here is just as sharp and sun drenched as the previous volume, feeling just as pulpy and bleak. Its sweet. It’s dry. I like the taste of it. I can’t wait for more from him and Ed with Ethan’s cases.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Greg Trosclair

    I think that Friend of the Devil the second of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Reckless series was better than the first. I certainly enjoyed it more. I find that Brubaker is one of the best comic book writers for a genre like this. He has proved it a number of times over his career and now it is nearly automatic that he writes a complete story without holes. Sean Phillips does an admirable job as always providing the visuals and they always look better when I am actively reading the book. If I j I think that Friend of the Devil the second of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Reckless series was better than the first. I certainly enjoyed it more. I find that Brubaker is one of the best comic book writers for a genre like this. He has proved it a number of times over his career and now it is nearly automatic that he writes a complete story without holes. Sean Phillips does an admirable job as always providing the visuals and they always look better when I am actively reading the book. If I just page through it I think well that looks alright but then I read it and it fits together seamlessly with Brubaker's story. I like the Reckless character. He is indeed a character written to fit the period the story is taking place. I love the character's love of movies. I like that he is always a little on the sad sack side of life, meaning that he is always just a little above being down on his luck. Similar to say Jim Rockford. This is a solid book. I almost wish that Brubaker would try his hand at a novel or adapt one of his many series into a streaming mini-series or something as his work is visual.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I can never stay away from Ed Brubaker noir. Reckless is all about nostalgia and how it can inspire and ruin us. Every character is chasing the past for a chance to recreate those moments of glory. For Brubaker, I can't help but feel like he goes back into this formula because he finds ways to present it all in different ways. Because people believing the early days are easier are timeless, times when things weren't so hard. Instead people just think about reflecting on the mistakes once it was I can never stay away from Ed Brubaker noir. Reckless is all about nostalgia and how it can inspire and ruin us. Every character is chasing the past for a chance to recreate those moments of glory. For Brubaker, I can't help but feel like he goes back into this formula because he finds ways to present it all in different ways. Because people believing the early days are easier are timeless, times when things weren't so hard. Instead people just think about reflecting on the mistakes once it was too late to fix everything. It's rather nice to think of all happenings with the little moments of humanity where Ethan goes about his day. (view spoiler)[One thing I like about it all is how is the title character's self-awareness is demonstrated when facing antagonists. Anyone with Ethan Reckless' background know that people can be savage despite having everything they need, that's not a great revelation, it's just desensitized hard truth. The people who preach this like some knock-off Charles Manson just want to commodify their ideologies. (hide spoiler)]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    I’m enjoying Reckless’s now repeated theme of exploring the darker 80s cultural hangover of 70s counterculture ideas through crime noir. This mystery’s early hints point at Helter Skelter hippies gone scary and 70s B-movie Hollywood, and I was excited for Ethan to delve into the remains of those scenes. The eventual shape of that mystery is a bit more straight-forward this time, but still a lot of fun to follow. I’m also enjoying the heavy character work, both for new case-specific figures like I’m enjoying Reckless’s now repeated theme of exploring the darker 80s cultural hangover of 70s counterculture ideas through crime noir. This mystery’s early hints point at Helter Skelter hippies gone scary and 70s B-movie Hollywood, and I was excited for Ethan to delve into the remains of those scenes. The eventual shape of that mystery is a bit more straight-forward this time, but still a lot of fun to follow. I’m also enjoying the heavy character work, both for new case-specific figures like Linh Tran and fleshing out Ethan’s handful of loose allies like Anna. I similarly love that the setting has advanced a few years since the first book; it allows a brief window into how Ethan’s friends have lived their lives in the meantime and grounds the story in reality that much more. Not much new to say about how it looks, other than its reliably gorgeous. The father-son Phillips team continues to create my personal favorite art for depicting Brubaker’s stories (that I’ve read anyway; there’s plenty that I haven’t.)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Morica

    A great addition to the series. I wrote at little more about the first volume, and most of those thoughts still apply. (Reckless) I enjoyed every minute of this and look forward to more. Pros: I am on board with the characters every minute of the story. They feel real and well-loved by their creators. Neutral: I can see where the influences come from for the plots, and while I genuinely love the (mildly heightened) reality of the tone, I wish there was more creative inspiration when revisiting stori A great addition to the series. I wrote at little more about the first volume, and most of those thoughts still apply. (Reckless) I enjoyed every minute of this and look forward to more. Pros: I am on board with the characters every minute of the story. They feel real and well-loved by their creators. Neutral: I can see where the influences come from for the plots, and while I genuinely love the (mildly heightened) reality of the tone, I wish there was more creative inspiration when revisiting stories that have been told before. Having said that, I recognize that he is giving me exactly what I love from his stories, which is the pastiche. Cons: I feel like occasionally influences show a little too much. I can see which parts come from Chandler, and Westlake, and Parker.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    I enjoyed this second volume better than the first. The mystery felt better paced and more cohesive despite following some of the same story beats as its predecessor. I appreciate that, despite multiple depictions of group sex, the art never felt gratuitous or titillating. It's all kind of dark and ominous instead, which really matches up with the gruesome story being told. I also appreciated that the woman who brought this mystery into Ethan's life has some autonomy and isn't just a femme fatal I enjoyed this second volume better than the first. The mystery felt better paced and more cohesive despite following some of the same story beats as its predecessor. I appreciate that, despite multiple depictions of group sex, the art never felt gratuitous or titillating. It's all kind of dark and ominous instead, which really matches up with the gruesome story being told. I also appreciated that the woman who brought this mystery into Ethan's life has some autonomy and isn't just a femme fatale that pops in just to disappear. I look forward to future volumes to see if Brubaker and Phillips expand their storytelling style or if their going to follow the same formula each time. The art is perfect for this sort of neo-noir and 1980s drug-fueled LA story, and the mysteries are elaborate without being ridiculous.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    Another Brubaker and Phillips crime comic, though possibly one should say Phillipses, because Jacob's sun-washed colours are every bit as key to the eighties mood as Sean's lines. The tale is still nothing remotely new – if you've ever encountered any story about Hollywood's dark 1970s, you have a pretty good idea what off-grid ex-spy Ethan Reckless is going to uncover when he sets out on the trail of his girlfriend's long-lost sister – and the telling opens with a cheap dig at Duran Duran and D Another Brubaker and Phillips crime comic, though possibly one should say Phillipses, because Jacob's sun-washed colours are every bit as key to the eighties mood as Sean's lines. The tale is still nothing remotely new – if you've ever encountered any story about Hollywood's dark 1970s, you have a pretty good idea what off-grid ex-spy Ethan Reckless is going to uncover when he sets out on the trail of his girlfriend's long-lost sister – and the telling opens with a cheap dig at Duran Duran and Depeche Mode that should have put me right off. All the same, the slight tweak in setting is enough that I continue to enjoy Reckless a lot more than the default settings of this creative team's work. (Edelweiss ARC)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Usually crime stories/noir is not my thing. Brubaker has manged to get me interested in the damage Ethan reckless. A 1980s off the grid PI who seems to always get in over his head, and manages to pull him self out of the deep end (even thought it may not necessarily be a better thing for his clients). This begins as a non-paying gig. Ethan gets involved with a nice woman, and she asks him for help in finding her missing wanna be actress sister (Hollywood is essentially just up the freeway). A sim Usually crime stories/noir is not my thing. Brubaker has manged to get me interested in the damage Ethan reckless. A 1980s off the grid PI who seems to always get in over his head, and manages to pull him self out of the deep end (even thought it may not necessarily be a better thing for his clients). This begins as a non-paying gig. Ethan gets involved with a nice woman, and she asks him for help in finding her missing wanna be actress sister (Hollywood is essentially just up the freeway). A simple long shot missing person case. Alas, for Ethan's physical and mental well being not so simple. Cults and skinheads end up being involved. A quick read, and a well done novella. the sister has been missing for years.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark Schlatter

    As I mentioned in my review of the first Reckless volume, I prefer Brubaker and Phillips telling longer stories that what I found here. And, in fact, I tried to read this installment fairly slowly, just to savor the atmosphere as long as possible. So, this is very, very good, but not great. I loved the depiction of Ethan's new love (the person who draws him into this volume's case), and there's a one page spread that sings of Ethan's ruthlessness and determination. But I twigged to at least one b As I mentioned in my review of the first Reckless volume, I prefer Brubaker and Phillips telling longer stories that what I found here. And, in fact, I tried to read this installment fairly slowly, just to savor the atmosphere as long as possible. So, this is very, very good, but not great. I loved the depiction of Ethan's new love (the person who draws him into this volume's case), and there's a one page spread that sings of Ethan's ruthlessness and determination. But I twigged to at least one bad guy fairly quickly, and - like the last volume - I don't think the tension built for long enough. Still, it's Brubaker and Phillips doing crime, and I won't say no to that.

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