The texture of a cop lost in the brutal paragon of what is right and wrong has always been a style of thriller since the early 70s. From Serpico to Dirty Harry, the reflectivity of what determines conscience is based on what the goal is to get it. The lead character here in “Stiletto Vol. 1” [Palle Schmidt/Lion Forge/144pgs] who is unassuming in the best Barney Miller tradition continues through his life like he just doesn’t care. The wife is looking for beach houses. His daughter is lost in her own little world. He seems to just keep his head about water. The art of this graphic novel is washed out in an almost melting kind of perspective while still keeping a sense of grittiness. The gunshots are frozen in time. The melancholy of the lead character is played well as a misdirect but it is based almost in the fact that he is basically a nihilist backed into a corner making decisions simply because that is the only option. It is the idea of the greater good or simply a sociopathic intent that really walks the line. Stiletto, as he is ultimately known, is at the beck and call of nasty people but at a certain point he thinks he is himself unredeemable and therefore commits acts that even if you were on the take seem a little severe. The funnel through which is life is purveyed gets smaller and smaller despite the f act that evil begets evil. Ultimately “Stiletto” effectively is on the point that once the knife is in, might as well turn the blade. “Stiletto” is a disciple to its own genre but plays it very well.
By Tim Wassberg