The Killer Vol. 6: Affairs of the State

The Killer Vol. 6: Affairs of the State
The Killer Vol. 6 Affairs of the State review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Archaia - 978-1-68415-858-4
  • Volume No.: 6
  • Release date: 2020, 2021
  • English language release date: 2022
  • UPC: 9781684158584
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Crime, Thriller

The Killer isn’t a series creators Matz and Luc Jacamon feel needs their full time attention. They’ve twice taken breaks of several years before picking up the series again, and Affairs of the State was published in France six years after the ambiguous ending to Fight or Flight. That finished with the French authorities having tracked the Killer down, aware of his past and demanding he now work for them. The Killer fled somewhere remote to assess the situation, his reasoning being that if they could track him down a second time, he wouldn’t have much choice.

He was tracked down, and Affairs of the State begins with the Killer back in France working undercover in an office. He hates it, and it’s not the only change as instead of working solo and for himself he’s now working as part of a small team and is kept on a leash. The port city where he’s operating isn’t ever named, but Jacamon makes good symbolic use of a massive slab of rock fallen onto the beach.

Part of the Killer’s appeal has always been his cold-blooded worldview, espoused via narrative captions, but Matz having him pontificate on the tedium of office life isn’t as engrossing or informative as his trade, political hypocrisy or history. It shows the stories flow just as well even if the narrative captions aren’t as captivating, and by the end of the second chapter Mats has fixed that anyway, pointing out examples of good intentions doing great damage before moving on to the Killer’s thoughts about conspiracy theorists. Have you checked the background information about quinoa harvesting lately? As with earlier series, the commentary accompanies an action story, so isn’t just preaching to the converted.

After all this time the superlatives expire for just how well Jacamon draws The Killer. He’s a master of light and posture, his layouts move the story forward cinematically and the people on whom everything depends are gloriously depicted, yet everything is in the service of clarity. It’s astounding. Something that is notable, though, is that there’s no brief form of artistic experimentation, which has characterised earlier books.

The plot amounts to the corruption of the local mayor parlaying a gang war into political power, and what should be done about it. With one lively exception the people with whom the Killer has partnered don’t have much in the way of character, and that’s the case again here. However there’s also a major storytelling departure as the entire focus isn’t on the Killer this time. Matz spends some time with gangsters and with the local police department, which hosts a pair of efficient detectives. Their views contrast the Killer’s but for too long their purpose is only commentary after events. Eventually, though, their path converges with the Killer and things take a surprise turn as the political commentary broadens.

Affairs of the State is more conventional than earlier outings, although the narrative intensity remains. Jacamon elevates it, and while switching circumstances has been used before, there’s no getting around a general lack of tension. Instead of being given a target and sorting the situation, the Killer’s world is greatly complicated by having to figure out what’s going on, but the plot twists and this is serviceable crime fiction, just not outstanding. A new story began in France in 2022, but if another three volumes, on current schedules it’s unlikely to be completed before 2024 at the earliest.