(An image from volume 1; looks peaceful doesn't it? You just keep on thinking that...)
Certain types of noir fiction and comics exist in another universe--one that is distinctly amoral and hyper-real. It's perhaps too easy to think of this kind of story as gritty and realistic, because it decidedly is not. Noir brings to the foreground a seedy underbelly that isn't, for most people, part of daily existence. For this reason, noir uses the idea of a "street view" that isn't necessarily more authentic than that used by other modes of fiction. All this is by way of saying that, readers who enjoy noir are indulging in a kind of escapism that often has no real use for normal morality. The Killer, a great comic from Archaia, now collected in two volumes, the second on sale Monday, is a great example of how this escapism works. Our Anti-Hero may be an assassin, but he's often surrounded by, and a tool of, forces who are much more actively evil. Thus, we root for him because he's a shade better than the rest.
Our hero exists in a bloody, brutal world, and in this second volume, he's trying to get back to his "normal" life, which has been interrupted by a series of setbacks related to his work. As with the first volume, part of the fun comes from the range of settings, which make our killer seem like an anti-James Bond. The art is crisp, clean, and the interior monologue seems spot-on. Interestingly, the killer's attempt to set things right winds up bringing him closer to people than ever before. The first volume was nominated for an Eisner, and as this second volume creates further complexity of situation and character, I wouldn't be surprised if it also received a nomination. Definitely check this one out if you love noir.