Author/ Art: Charles Pazos

Reviewed By: Melissa Megan

The Bends is a 77 page one shot graphic novel, available on Graphicly in digital form, created by Charles Pazos. He is also currently trying to fund the publishing of The Bends in book form through a Kickstarter with 32 days left to succeed. I had never heard of the author or the book previous to receiving an email soliciting review, but at first glance the art work caught my eye so I decided to check it out.

Set in Miami, this is a very classic crime-noire story of power and corruption, politics and sex. It’s definitely intended for a mature audience. The story moves along fast, propelled by gritty action and and an ongoing, lighthearted dialogue between two hired hitmen who seem to have a friendly past together. Events in The Bends move along and intersect each other like a Tarantino film and I wasn’t surprised to see Tarantino mentioned in the thank you notes at the end of the story. You don’t get much time to become acquainted with the characters enough to really care about them, but I feel like with this type of story spending too much time with any of them would slow the pace in an undesirable way.

The art of The Bends is clean and simple, all black and white, built of heavy lines and well defined panels; the style works well with the simplicity of the story line. Again a very classic crime-noire look that builds a world full of shadows and stark, ugly realities. The characters all look a little tired and worn, some with an appropriate snarl or heavy brow that belies their intentions. 

It’s a quick, easy read that does a good job of keeping you pulled in and interested in what’s coming next. I enjoyed the story, for what it is, and definitely recommend giving it a read if you’re a fan of noire style stories, but I also struggle to find much else to say about The Bends here. It’s not a story that reaches very far beyond what’s been seen before, and it’s a one shot, so there’s nothing left to wonder about. Again, if crime stories with clean, well drawn art are your thing, check it out and maybe even head over to support it in print through Kickstarter.