The Dead and the Dying (Criminal v3)- Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips - It really is true. This series seems like each part that is written is done so just the make the next part even better. It's like each successive volume is the real point of the series. I am really glad that the series started out with Leo. If it had started with just dumping us right in the middle of the Lawless family, it would have probably kept me from enjoying the series. I swear that we got Coward as a way of making Lawless more meaningful, and even more tolerable. In this volume of the series we get to see one side of things first from a focus on Gnarly before he was tending bar at the Undertown. We get a story about a fairly sympathetic character first, before we see the Lawless side of things.
I have loved every bit of these three volumes. All of them are filled with real and tragic characters. None of the characters is without at least some humanity in them somewhere, even Teeg Lawless or Sebastian Hyde. We sort of see three downfalls in this volume, maybe four. I'll go with four. Four tragic tales of the beginning of the end for each of the people featured. One ends in death, one we know ultimately does, and the other two lead to internal changes and loss of friendships , and such.
Gnarly, the big bartender who states in the last volume that he is Switzerland, was a boxer. His father was behind the rise of Sebastian Hyde's father, and the two boys grew up as friends until a woman and other philosophical differences came between them. Danica is the woman that comes between them. We see her rise and fall as well. She plays a part in the stories of the three men that are detailed in this book, as well as having her story told out in aching detail throughout the whole volume.
We follow Teeg Lawless as he comes back from Vietnam forever affected by what he experienced there, and despite being an awful and abusive husband (and eventually abusive father) He loves his sons and refuses to let them suffer for his misdealings, only to resent them for affecting him that way later on in their lives. This is some heavy stuff, but it never feels anything but real. There is a lot of sex and violence, but that is because it is about characters for whom sex and violence are their stock-in-trade.
So I guess I have to wait until February or so for the next volume to come out.