Saturday, November 19, 2011

Return to Perdition -- Max Allan Collins

Max Allan Collins has teamed up with Terry Beatty, and they've come to the end of the road to Perdition in this dandy conclusion to the long-running saga. Don't worry if you haven't read all the other books and graphic novels in the series. There's enough in the story here to catch you up.

It's the '70s. Michael Satriano, Jr., is in a Vietnamese prison camp when he and his fellow prisoners are rescued. After his recovery back in the U. S., he's told by a high-ranking member of the Justice Department that his father and sister have been killed by the mob. He's offered a job as a hit man for the Justice Department. He'll be taking out mob figures who've been killing important witnesses. It's a job he turns out to be very good at. Then, on one assignment, he meets the daughter of a target and falls for her. Things get complicated. They get even more complicated when he's asked to kill a priest.

Collins moves the story along at a ripping pace, with some good surprises along the way, and Beatty's drawings are just right for the '70s setting. If you didn't know better, you might think you were watching an exploitation movie from that era, with plenty of nudity, sex, and violence. The ending works very well as it brings the long road trip to a conclusion, and the last panel is perfect.

The fact that things have come to a definitely conclusion doesn't mean that the story is all over, exactly. Collins says in an afterword that prequels can't be ruled out or that he can't take a side trip. So there are still some stories to be told if the opportunity arises. Bring 'em on.

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