by Devarsi Ghosh
I first got to know about Torso when news of David Fincher planning to adapt it hit me a few years back. Finally got around to reading it. The story is about the ‘Torso Killer’ who was active between years of 1934 and 1938. He was called so because all he left of his victims were their torsos. Then Cleveland Safety Director, the infamous Elliot Ness was on his trail along with his team of two very competent detectives – Walter Myrlo and Sam Simon.
The case, to this date, remains unsolved.
Yet again, like the Green River Killer, the artwork is B/W. But while the Green River Killer’s artwork was bland (in a good way), very direct and simple, Torso’s is really trippy and it gets under your skin. What’s more interesting is, real B/W photographs of the crime scene and the investigation are often spliced into the artwork, lending an overall eerie effect. You get the feeling of ‘Whoa, I am THERE right now!’. The artwork coupled with the writing was so intense I felt like I was watching a movie. They just complemented each other so well! The characters are brilliantly written and it is ripe for a film adaptation.
Also, unlike the Green River Killer, Torso is strictly noir. The shadows are dense and dark. There’s a sinister quality to the entire look of the book.
Torso Killer is probably the creepiest serial murderer I have ever been aware of till date and it’s a pity he was never formally charged and convicted. Brilliant work by Brian Michael Bendis nevertheless.