There are several staple genres within the comic book medium, ranging from your classic superhero tales to old school horror by way of a little crime, and it’s within the latter that The Rinse falls, but not by the usual suspects. Whereas most crime comics have a propensity to obsess about the assassins of this world, the new series by acclaimed crime novelist Gary Phillips (returning to Boom Studios), focuses on a man who usually operates behind the scenes, on the down low. The titular ‘Rinse’ refers, of course, to money laundering, and enter our protagonist, Jeff Sinclair.
This is a character driven not by greed or power, but by playing the long game, calculating risks with a desire to keep operations firmly off the grid. In terms of pop culture references, it is Matthew Vaughan’s film Layer Cake that will spring to mind. The unnamed hero, played by Daniel Craig (not a launderer, but rather a drug dealer) has an eerily similar business mantra to our man on the street here: keep clear of making a name for yourself and try to retire with a clean bill of, not health, but money. Lots of money. So Phillips has laid out similar motives for Sinclair, and this first issue is very much a beginner’s guide to the world of money laundering. Not exactly a how-to manual, but it is still quite on the nose in letting the reader know just how the business works. A set up containing a mildly forgettable supporting cast serves mainly to establish Sinclair’s character traits, how he does business and why.
But there is a twist to any tale, and here the sting is provided by a bungling former casino accountant, fresh from a hefty job and looking to launder a lotto winners amount of money. The sensible thing to do would be to walk away, but can Sinclair walk away from such a big pay-day? Obviously there are no answers here, but rather questions and the business of setting up the beginning arc of this story. Take a tour of Sinclair’s haunts and habits, his business and just who he will and won’t deal with, throw in a mysterious dame who is about to make her attentions clear, and you have all the pot-boiler tension a set up like this could need.
It’s issue #2 that will be the make or break installment for this series as this $1 début issue, due in September, is kind of tease. This is a story set firmly at street level, and the art by Marc Laming is incredibly grounded. Using a predominately autumnal pallet for the colours, life in The Rinse seems like the bygone era of forgotten mob casinos. Rustic reds and faded browns dominate the splash, and although the bodies may seem a little clunky, the character interactions work both visually and lyrically. The final product is a solid and original foundation for a crime drama. Will laundering hold as much excitement as assassination? Find out this September!
THE RINSE #1
Written by Gary Phillips
Drawn by Marc Laming
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $1.00
COVER A: Francesco Mattina
COVER B: Paul Azaceta
Diamond Code: JUL110956