Goldfish, a petty thief, and his untrustworthy comrade-at-arms, Columbia, stumble along in their scams, sometimes helping and sometimes hurting one another in their dance of I-hate-you-but-I-need-you. Then along comes Jinx, a female bounty hunter, who just happens to fall in love with Goldfish at about the same time that he and Columbia learn (maybe) the location to a hidden $3 million. Greed, love, and the past explode in their faces.Overall, Jinx is not a bad story, but it never really becomes compelling. I think it’s partly because sometimes the story wants to be plot-driven and sometimes it wants to be character-driven. Not that you can’t have plot and character, but they don’t blend well together in Jinx. The pace of the plot is often derailed by a character study; and the character studies don’t quite round out the players before we are back to the main story. Jinx in particular seems strangely lopsided: we seem to know more about her past than we do her present. And it is difficult either to sympathize with her or to dislike her. Jinx is full of the “famous” Bendis dialogue that tries to mimic human speech patterns. It’s a fine goal, but in my opinion it doesn’t really work in print where a little goes a long way. For example, you can suggest a stutter with the occasional repeated words; but if every word is written lu-lu-lu-like thu-thu-thu-this, it only makes for an annoying reading experience. The Bendis formula may work great for stage or screen; but visually, it is completely off-putting*. Additionally, there are a half dozen scenes whose only purpose seems to be to show off this formula, because they are completely out of place in the story. Perhaps these scenes were only included in this “director’s cut” edition; but if not, they should have been left out. They only further slow the story down. As to the artwork, Bendis takes the appropriate noirish approach to his seedy tale of greed. His panels are rendered in dark blacks and have a clear movie sensibility in their visual rhythms. His images are often taken directly from photo reference, but he manages (for the most part) to have a consistent feel to the narrative. While Jinx didn’t really do much for me, it was clearly a labor of love for Bendis. And it shows (even without the behind-the-scenes material included in this collection). Warts and all, Jinx is certainly worth of a look.
*And just to show that I’m consistent, I feel the same way when Mark Twain does it in Huckleberry Finn.