Piggin’ Out #4


There may be a special edition of ‘Piggin’ Out’ – the World’s least beloved title for the World’s most beloved series of articles – coming soon. But you’ll hear more about that only when the time is ready. For now, let’s race into issue #4 of the Image series by Ben McCool, Nate Cosby, and Breno Tamura. And, joining up for a few pages, artist Will Siney.

So we’ve already gathered that there are about three groups involved in the story – the team of assassins, their handlers, and the handlers’ handlers. The assassins are led by Felix, our main protagonist, and are made up of five people. This team are all Russian sleeper agents left in Cuba after the Cold War, just activated again for some unknown purpose. Of the five, it appears that only Felix and his childhood friend Alexsandr have any reservations about taking up the cause again. Felix clearly seems to be the one who’ll cause problems as the book continues, but his dissent feels realistic and natural. His character is delved into in a little more depth this issue, showing him to be the most moral of the five.

This issue focuses mainly on the assassins, although we do get another flashback to their childhood – which sheds a little more light on their handlers Oleg and Yuri. Again we see that Oleg is the more aggressive of the handlers, and Yuri is meekly following orders. We’ve yet to see any sign of either character outside of the flashbacks, which makes it seem like they may not be getting out alive. Or they’re in hiding somewhere. It’s hard to tell where Cosby and McCool are planning to take this.

The handlers of the handlers may have popped up in Cuba, but it’s still hard to tell who goes where in the hierarchy, thanks to the fragmented timeline. At any rate, out favourite character of 2011 returns at the end of this issue to dispense some more icy one-liners. Irisa appears to be the main woman behind the operation, and it appears that the operation is still meant to involve the abduction of the US President. But that still leaves the Cubans walking around, untouched. What is their role in all this?

Issue #4 of the series features a cover from Becky Coonan, who helped McCool and Cosby put together the basic premise for the story. As mentioned before, Will Sliney contributes artwork for the flashbacks, offering an Michael Oeming-esque sense of structure to his sequences. Tamura’s artwork, in comparison, slides a little this issue. Whether this is the intention is up for debate, as his off-kilter perspectives and sense of anatomy bring to mind Larry Stroman’s artwork. His use of expression and timing are still spot-on, but there are a few pages where the characters look a little off.

Luckily, the story is picking up from last issue’s slower pace, with more time spent jumping around timelines and throwing the readers off-balance. The dialogue has a snap to it, and the pacing is brilliantly set out. Most readers have probably been waiting anxiously for three months to see the return of Irisa – who made such a startling first impression – and finally we see more of her story. But the writers catch her out almost immediately, with a last-page which casts every other issue so far into a new light. Pigs remains the comic-world equivalent of 24, offering snappy dialogue and smart action sequences interspersed with a dazzling central conceit and a fascinating cast of characters. Look out for issue #5 next month.

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