Review – "Breakneck": Titan Books' Graphic Novel of Duane Swierczynski's Buddy Comedy-Thriller

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Breakneck is a graphic novel from an unpublished film outline by crime writer Duane Swierczynski, one of the best and most underrated crime writers out there.

Review – "Breakneck": Titan Books' Graphic Novel of Duane Swierczynski's Buddy Comedy-Thriller

Joe Hayward is a nebbish on the warpath. He's going after the guy who might be sleeping with his wife. He arrives at the motel they're at with a baseball bat and a brick. The guy he wants to beat the crap out of is Scott Majeski.

But once Joe starts swinging his bat at Scott, things don't go the way he planned. Or how Scott planned, for that matter. What Joe has walked into is a plot to kill thousands of people in a terror attack in less than two hours. Scott is the only guy who can stop it… if Joe hadn't reduced him to a blubbering wreck with a truth serum shot.

Now Joe and Scott have to save the city, with rogue government agents out to stop them.

Here's Titan's preview of the trade:

The Kind of Pulp B Movies We Need More of

Breakneck is a thriller that lives up to its name. It's like a quickfire B movie with a simple high concept that races from one reveal and twist to the next towards its climax. What all the publicity and blurb copy didn't tell us is that this is a comedy. Swierczynski's writing pops with absurd banter and escalating farce on top of the danger. He can't really go wrong with the barely competent Joe dragging secret agent Scott with him. Normally Scott would be the hotshot secret agent jerk, but with truth serum coursing through him, he can't stop blabbering the truth at every inappropriate moment.

Review – "Breakneck": Titan Books' Graphic Novel of Duane Swierczynski's Buddy Comedy-Thriller
A bit stiff …

Italian artists Simone Guglielmini and Rafaele Semeraro draw the book with a crisp, clear style. However, the figures can be a bit stiff – their facial expressions too posed as if copied from photographs. I wish the characters had a bit more personality, but it gets the job done. The layouts make for good sequential storytelling without wasting space or panels.

Hard Case Crime has collected the miniseries as a graphic novel, which is the best way to read the whole story. Breakneck is not the best thing Duane Swierczynski ever wrote, but it's a lot of fun and an good exercise in how to write a chase thriller.

Breakneck Issue 1 Preview

Breakneck Issue 2 Preview

Breakneck Issue 3 Preview

Breakneck Issue 4 Preview

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.