BOOK REVIEW: Tyler Cross: Black Rock By Fabien Nury and Laurence Croix

BOOK REVIEW: Tyler Cross: Black Rock By Fabien Nury and Laurence Croix

Several months ago XS Noize alongside Titan Comics invited readers to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles Yellow Submarine film by giving a guided tour of the graphic novel by Bill Morrison (The Simpsons). Now, instead of taking you through a “sea of green”, XS Noize will take you to a world of crime and gangsters, offering an adrenaline rush one would experience watching Quentin Trentino’s classic: Pulp Fiction. XS Noize alongside Titan Comics will now take you through Tyler Cross: Black Rock.

Apart from the choice of attire our main protagonist, Tyler Cross adorns himself in; the soundtrack to Tyler Cross: Black Rock, is shared with Pulp Fiction. The promotional video for this graphic novel uses Dick Dale’s, 1962, Misirlou. Misirlou would then be sampled by the Black Eyed Peas on Pump It. Tyler Cross: Black Rock, unlike Pulp Fiction, is set in 1950, which will partially explain much of the politically incorrect language and behaviour towards female characters.

Tyler Cross: Black Rock, initially published in French, begins with Tyler Cross being assigned a mission. The thirty-seven year has an end goal (after carrying out certain gruesome deeds) to recover twenty kilograms of heroin. Accompanied with a band of merry men and one woman (CJ), Tyler Cross, recovers seventeen of the twenty kilograms of heroin. Cross, the sole survivor, then makes his way by foot to Black Rock, Texas. The twice-convicted convict for armed robbery tries to pass himself off as a “Style and Beauty” Rep called Ed. Tyler quickly finds himself in trouble and becomes embroiled in the domestic affairs of Black Rock. He ends up crashing a wedding he had no intention of attending. If only Tyler could have got the money he was due wired to him before the Black Rock town bank decided to close early; Mr Cross’s adventures would have been far duller with seldom a palpitation.

Black Rock is a small town ruled and governed by the Pragg family. The novel narrates how the Pragg’s earned their alpha status through less than ethical activities. The Pragg family decide to investigate the newcomer in their town. They have an inkling that this outsider is not actually a “Style and Beauty” Rep called Ed. Our career criminal Tyler is forced to find friends (or at least allies along the way). Fortunately for Cross, he finds them (including a snake) when he needs them the most.

Tyler Cross: Black Rock is not for children. There is violence from the outset. There are scenes of a sexual nature. The erotic matchstick sketches are especially captivating. Cross himself lacks charm, but gets the girl (at least what he wants and needs from the girl), offering good practical advice in return. In some respects Tyler is a risk-analyst, calculating his odds of survival in each situation (there are many).

Our protagonist achieves everything he sets out to achieve (making crime his payday), but he cannot rest and enjoy it. Cross is able to do almost anything, except shake off the “cops from five states and mafia” who are “on his ass…” What makes Tyler Cross: Black Rock such a mesmerising and captivating read (apart from the deft plot, accompanying violence and explicit content) is that as we learn all about the places Cross visits and the lives of people whose path he crosses, Tyler Cross, like his parents still remains unknown.

To witness all the action first-hand, a copy of Tyler Cross: Black Rock can be purchased via Titan Comics.

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