reviewed by Warner Holme
“Noir Burlesque” by Enrico Marini features genres that are evident from the title. This observation isn’t a complaint, but rather a recognition of the obvious. The story predominantly revolves around a career criminal named Slick.
As he interacts with familiar faces, he constantly tries to keep his past concealed, though with mostly unsuccessful outcomes. Despite possessing undeniable talent and skill, Slick seems to have an uncanny ability to upset nearly everyone in his circle.
The work serves as an impressive testament to Marini’s artistic prowess and capability. He brilliantly conveys movement without relying on blur or distortion. Moreover, he shifts characters into vastly different scenarios without them losing their intrinsic nature.
While the comic is primarily in black and white, with nuanced grayscale, this particular piece deviates in a notable way. Instead of the usual stark contrast of black and white, the color red in various shades is evident in almost every scene. This inclusion results in three primary visual spectrum points, ensuring that reds become focal points in most settings. Typically, the red signifies a clear reason for attention, though not always in the conventional sense of danger.
Similar to many Italian adult comics, “Noir Burlesque” doesn’t shy away from nudity and intimate scenes. They are seamlessly integrated into the narrative, more explicit than what one might find in a pre-code crime film but never veering into the territory of conventional pornography. These scenes extend the storytelling style, embracing the sensual dynamics of the situations presented.
The absence of a credited translator is peculiar. Nevertheless, Marini is well-acquainted with the nuances of western comics and may very well be fluent in English himself. The comic’s presentation, as a large album-sized hardcover, is reminiscent of Italian comics. It enhances the visuals, making the grim and striking moments feel akin to a cinematic war epic. This format complements much of the content.
While Marini’s previous works often touched on horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, this book aligns closely with the hard-boiled crime genre, steering clear of fantastical elements. For aficionados of gritty crime tales, this alignment will only amplify their interest, and the elegant execution is sure to captivate.