Pride & Joy by Garth Ennis and John Higgins

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Pride & Joy is another terrific offering from Garth Ennis as he continually cements his position at the top of crime noir graphic novel genre. For fans of Preacher, you will not find any paranormal happenings in Pride & Joy, but instead you will be treated to a gritty and visceral attack on your senses in this tale of one man’s battle with guilt and redemption as he to make up for his dark and tragic past.

Jimmie Kavanagh is a single father, his wife’s tragic death leaving him with a young daughter and rebellious teenage son to raise on his own. But Jimmie has his own demons as well. A past his family knows nothing about. Kavanagh was an artist at B and E, breaking and entering, and his criminal activities brought him to the attention the local hoods who set up a big job. Only the job goes wrong and Jimmie finds himself looking down the barrel of the gun of a psychotic killer. Jimmie is able to get away and leave the killer for the police to find. But in escaping from the job, Jimmie commits an unspeakable act. A terrible tragedy that drives him away from his home and life of crime.

Later, on his own, Jimmie is able to start a new life. He marries and has two children. But his past is never gone and he is haunted by the moment in time that has damned him. But now, when two of his old partners show up, Jimmie’s past comes full circle. And when he learns that the psychotic killer he left for dead is following them, Jimmie has no choice but to run. But if Jimmie Kavanagh knows anything, you can never truly outrun your past.

Garth Ennis writes beautiful, dark and haunting tales of the battle between man and his own dark past as he struggles for redemption. Something he has no hope of achieving. In Pride & Joy, it is not just his own conscious that condemns Jimmie but his son stands in judgement of him as well when he learns the truth of him. That his father and his life has been a lie, a lie running from the truth.

This is Raymond Chandler in a gritty black and white image, bloody and violent, but very, very human. Jimmie Kavanaugh is a character as convincing in his ability to fight for himself and his family as he is in his desperation for redemption.

A really good read.

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