Comic Book Review – SHAFT: IMITATION OF LIFE – PART TWO: EASY MONEY (2016)

SHAFT: IMITATION OF LIFE – PART TWO: EASY MONEY (9 March 2016, Dynamite Entertainment, 32 pp)
Shaft Created by Ernest Tidyman
Written and Lettered by David F. Walker
Illustrated by Dietrich Smith
Coloured by Alex Guimares
Cover by Matthew Clark
Cover Colours by Vinicius Andrade

Blurb: Having grown tired of dangerous cases that lead to violence, private detective John Shaft decides it’s time to earn some easy money. His first job? Working as a consultant on a film about a black private dick. Award-winning author David F. Walker (Cyborg, Power Man & Iron Fist) proudly delivers the second chapter, entitled “Easy Money”, of the hard-hittin’, tough-talkin’ John Shaft’s latest case!

David Walker interlinks the continuing story of the missing Mike Prosser with Shaft’s being hired as a consultant to work on a movie based on himself. The latter case is deemed to be “Easy Money” for Shaft as opposed to the Prosser case on which he is now solely helping Tito Salazar out as a favour. When Shaft and Tito come across Mafia gangsters running a porn business, Shaft bows out and opts for the easy cash instead. But the opening pages, set three weeks ahead show that Shaft will once again have to tough it out protecting the movie’s star.

This issue shows Walker having fun with Shaft and the new characters he has introduced. Where this will all lead is intriguing. Dietrich Smith’s artwork nicely captures both the colour and grime of Times Square in the early 1970s with its array of porn movie theatres and low-life population. Walker is skating a fine line between parody and drama, but manages to stay just the right side and keep the plot interesting as the story reaches the half-way mark.

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