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Richard Stark's Parker: The Score by Darwyn…
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Not nearly as good as Darwyn Cooke's adaptations of the Parker novels The Hunter and The Score. It was just as skillfully adapted as a graphic novel, with a sparse monochromatic but propulsive drawing and minimalist writing. I think, without having read it directly, that the problem is the plot of the underlying novel it is adapting. The Hunter and The Outfit both have a higher level of double-crossing, more varied settings, and an almost epic struggle of Parker as a solo criminal against "The Outfit" as a wide-ranging organization with tentacles in everything. In contrast, The Score is more of a standard caper story as Parker is presented with an idea for a score, assembles a crew, procures weapons, cases the site, moves in, it goes partly wrong, and then they leave and hideout. Nothing more, nothing less.

I just re-read my review of the second book and find that at least I'm consistent in identifying trends, but unfortunately the trends seem to be accelerating: "The sequel to The Hunter is nearly as good. In this story, Parker continues his revenge on The Outfit (a seemingly more upscale version of the Mafia), organizing caper after caper to hit them where it hurts, in their pocketbooks. It is only nearly as good because it lacks some of the novelty you get with the introduction of a new character and also some of the closeness of the betrayal and revenge depicted in the previous book." ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Every single time I put down one of Darwyn Cooke’s Richard Stark adaptations, I tell myself, “Man, I really need to read those Parker books”. Not only do they come with solid recommendations from many of my trusted friends, they’re right up my alley. Disgruntled con-man with some serious anger issues? Give me all the books.

Parker’s general rule states that if a job needs more than five people, it’s not a job. So imagine his reaction when someone proposed a heist requiring more than twenty-five bodies. Scaling things down to a modest twelve crooks, Parker joins in with a rag-tag group of criminals recruited by a mysterious newbie, Edgars, with a plan to rob an entire town. Edgars is upfront about his displeasure with the quarry city and makes it known that the job has a lot to do with personal reasons – another red flag for Parker. Parker admits that he’s in need of a challenge and with a take of this size – roughly a quarter of a million – it’s hard to say no.

I often wonder how objective I would be with the material if I had read the original books. I can't attest to how accurate the adaptations are, all I can say is how much fun they are to read. The artwork is gorgeous and the colors, while subdued, find a way to do so much with varying shades of only one predominate color.

I'm a big fan of Cooke's approach to this project. The series is very much a "show, don't tell" adaptation as there are large sections of storytelling without dialogue. I guess that's the point. If you wanted tons of words encasing the beautiful imagery, you might as well read the books.

Cross Posted @ Every Read Thing ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
I just finished this heist caper and liked it a lot. I think I probably prefer Parker in this form rather than the original novels ( )
  MikeRhode | Feb 6, 2014 |
"Parker: The Score" is a variation on the group bank heist story most recently popularized by the "Ocean's Eleven" movies – there's a crew of unique individuals, a lengthy planning process and an action-packed heist. Cooke's comic book adaptation makes a staccato work, with a stark palette of blacks, whites and yellows.

Unfortunately, the adaptation process has not been kind to the nuances of [what I assume was in] the novel. Comic books typically read much faster than novels, and with a cast of ten plus characters, I often found the team of characters whizz past me in a blur. ( )
  jasonli | May 22, 2013 |
For his third Parker graphic novel, Cooke skips "The Mourner", the fourth book in the Parker series, and attacks the fifth book, "The Score". I understand his impatience to cut right to the good stuff. "The Score" is one of Parker's most memorable capers, the robbery of an entire town in North Dakota, situated in a box canyon. As is the case in most Parker novels, a meticulous heist is planned by the methodical Parker. And as is usually the case, a couple of things go wrong in a big way.

Cooke's style is tailor made for these Parker adaptations. No one else in comics has such a keen eye for fifties/sixties architecture, clothes, and cars. One great feature was the casting of fellow cartoonists as members of Parker's gang. (I recognized innovator Jim Steranko -- who himself could have planned some great heists -- as the dapper "Pop Phillips" right away).

If Cooke ever runs out of Parker books, I'd like to see him try his hand at John D. MacDonald's early Travis McGee books.

On a side note, while watching last summer's half-season of Breaking Bad, I couldn't help but think Mike Ehrmantraut (played by the great Jonathan Banks) was modeled after Parker, an earlier taciturn thief with a code. The well-planned crimes in Breaking Bad remind me of the heists in Stark's (Westlake's) fiction. Would it be too much to ask for AMC to make a Parker series starring Jonathan Banks? ( )
  EricKibler | Apr 5, 2013 |
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"Parker assembles a dozen of the best caper men he can find to knock over his most audacious target yet: an entire town. They scheme, they prepare, and they execute with military precision unaware that the whole thing is about to blow up in their faces"--p. [4] of cover.… (more)

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