R.I.P.D. partners gun blasts with bursts of cliché

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Writer: Peter M. Lenkov
Pencils: Lucas Marangon
Inks: Randy Emberlin
Colours: Dave Nestelle
Letters: Steve Dutro
Cover: Dave Wilkins
Publisher: Dark Horse

The Rest in Peace Department works for the good of God himself to ensure demons and other such creatures sneaking across into the earthly realm are dealt a gruesome execution. No questions asked: these blights are obliterated on sight, and sent back to the hell from whence they came.

When policeman Nick Cruz is slain in mysterious circumstances, his spirit is escorted to an office in the afterlife where he becomes immediately familiarised with the department’s methodology. He’s assigned alongside bearded veteran RIPD cop Roy Powell – on the verge of retirement, of course – to investigate his own murder.

A good proportion of the dialogue is constructed from tough-guy one-liners and clichés. Peter M. Lenkov’s script delivers in short bursts of deadpan wit and exclamations for easy consumption. At the gates of hell, Powell says, “Guess we’re gonna have to crash.” To which Cruz responds, “Big time.” What follows is one of several images of both cops brandishing their guns, outstretching their arms to point the butt end towards the reader. If, after watching mountains of cop movies you still think this image looks ‘cool’, then this may sadly provide you with a burst of adrenaline.

This particular image is also symptomatic of some of the wider issues with the book’s artwork. The two characters are rather crudely drawn in this instance, and in a number of other panels they’re depicted strangely at certain angles. Here and elsewhere, entire backgrounds are simply substituted for lines that imply a sense of action is occurring. It isn’t enough to compensate for a lack of detail, and it’s too frequent to evade notice. Otherwise, Lucas Marangon’s character depictions are intermittently enjoyable, especially when everyone collects in the understandably well-populated depths of hell.

RIPD was originally released in 2003 and is spotlighted here in anticipation of the upcoming summer blockbuster by director Robert Schwentke. Slated for a July release, the film stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as the two lead cops. If cool dudes in sunglasses creating gaping holes with their weapons is your thing, then this adaptation will cater with maximum graphic illustration. Bypass the slight offering of the miniseries and wait instead for the film’s trailer – the feature may be equally banal but it won’t skimp on gore and special effects.

Ed Doyle

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