Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Richard Stark’s Parker Slayground HC
The fourth adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker novels written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke is another must read book. This book is a lot more visual than the previous installments but is easily just as entertaining as the others. The book is equal parts grit and clever combined with superb writing and stunning visuals. Don’t pass this book up.
Slayground is more visual than any of the other novel adaptations. Parker is trapped in an amusement park, closed down for winter, during a robbery gone wrong. What he’s faced with isn’t police in pursuit, but crooks looking to steal from Parker. The story executes this simple premise to perfection.
Parker figures out he’s trapped and his only way out is to fight. He doesn’t know who his opponents will be and isn’t sure when they will come but he knows they will. Battling the elements he uses his environment to prepare for the hunters coming to get him.
Visually the book is at its best when dealing with the preparation of the park. Cooke provides the reader with a foldout, detailed map of the amusement park, which is invaluable to giving the readers the inside track on the action. Then Cooke shows the reader where Parker preps the park for his coming guests.
The book then moves towards the violence and what ends up happening is Parker has to fight off two waves of crooks. The first group of hoods are beaten down badly by Parker but they come back seeking vengeance with greater numbers and bigger guns. This leads to Parker coming up with even more creative ways to escape his trap. It’s a brilliant book.
The book is different from the first books because it is largely visual and gets away from the reader getting to know Parker. If this is your first Parker book then you will miss out on his genius in planning the capers and his ruthlessness as he bends others to fit his will. Instead its mostly Parker running throughout the park to prep it and then fighting those that come.
The book is also much shorter than the other adaptations. Coming in at under ninety pages it’s a good thirty pages shorter than the other books. The inclusion of the ten page short story, The 7eventh, helps round out the read into something that is shelf-worthy. More Parker is better so the disappointment is that the book ends too quickly.
What more can be said about Darwyn Cooke’s art that hasn’t already been said before? He’s got a soft style but with deliberate lines. His coloring is more about shading than boldness. He looks for details in facial expressions but in a cartoon-like way that brings out the motion and emotion of the characters in a clearer fashion. His art is perfect for this kind of story and this adaptation is no different from any of the others: it’s fantastic.
Slayground is a great read. I think the novice may want to pick up one of the other books first to get a clearer understanding of the character Parker, or perhaps read the backup story first. However, fans new or old are going to love this book as Cooke mixes the hardened criminal against the ruthless crime lords. It’s a great book and is terrific value for your money.
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles