The other day I was fast-forwarding through a copy of Die Hard, looking for a couple of shots to grab for use in a work project. I'd been digitizing clips from various different films all day long and my eyes were starting to go fuzzy and soft around the edges; the dulcet tones of Mr. Bruce Willis and his Wife-Beater of Justice gave me a familiar, welcome respite. So I decided to fast-forward through the movie to watch the cool action bits and then jog ahead to the next, compressing a two-hour plus flick down to a lean and mean twenty-five minutes.
Now, Die Hard isn't what you'd call fat in the plot and expository scene department, but those kinds of scenes are there nonetheless. Little moments to catch your breath, figure out who's getting killed next, clever one-liners, stuff like that. And while it's all fine and good within the greater context of Die Hard, you really should try watching it by just fast-forwarding to the action-y/kill-y bits, because it's a wholly different kind of viewing experience.
And I had a similar experience reading Brian Wood and Rob G's super-adrenalized THE COURIERS.
A spin-off (or maybe side project is a better appellation) of Wood's Couscous Express (with artist Brett Weldele), COURIERS follows the manically violent grey-market lives of Moustafa and Special, two NYC couriers (duh) that specialize in delivering or picking up illegal, immoral, or just plain dangerous packages and--
--You know what? It doesn't matter. Fast-forward. That's what Wood and, er, G, do. THE COURIERS is the comics equivalent of LESS TALK MORE ROCK.
Not to say there's not a plot, because there is; and it's not to say there's not characterization, because there's that, too. But going into THE COURIERS to focus on either is missing the point entirely. Get to the bit with the helicopter in Brooklyn, or the two kills with one shot, or the Road Runner-style car chase. Because those are the bits you'll remember. From its Trainspotting-homage of a cover to the credits themselves, everything about COURIERS screams ACTION MOVIE. And it's an action movie set on permanent fast-forward. Turn the brain off and get going.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.