By Brian Wood and Rob G
The Couriers is the best action movie you"ll read all year. From the cover design to the final liner notes, this 80-page original graphic novel is a screamingly over-the-top thrill ride stuffed with one outrageous scene after another. Writer Brian Wood and artist Rob G (hot in the middle of his instant-classic collaboration with Rick Spears, Teenagers From Mars) present the tale of Moustafa and Special, young mercenary couriers on the streets of modern-day New York. They take on the job of transporting a young girl on the run from an insane Chinese general; as with all good street-level crime stories, things go wildly awry in a hurry. Wood"s spare style, finely polished on work such as the political commentary Channel Zero, is in fine form here, sketching out well-grounded characters with a wry and merciless sense of humor, even as the situation gets more improbable with every passing page. By the time you get to the part where two guys get shot in the head with one bullet, you"re pretty well aware that the laws of physics have been soundly thrashed. Wood tops it all off with a clever and immensely satisfying climax. Rob G carries out a wide variety of stunts you wouldn"t think were really possible in comics, such as white-knuckle car chases, scooters vs. attack helicopters in the streets and, in a quieter moment, the equivalent of a West Wing walk-and-talk scene with bicycles in an apartment. And yet the wild action has a retro feel all its own; this is the motor-roaring muscle car world of Bullitt and The French Connection, rather than the caffeine-fueled world of Jerry Bruckheimer. What"s most impressive about Rob G"s artwork is his ability to keep the action clear and uncluttered even in the most supercharged situations. From start to finish, The Couriers is a wildly entertaining read and stands as a major landmark in action comics work.