by Garth Ennis & Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Mihailo Vukelic (art), and Simon Bowland (letters)

The Story: The conclusion of this limited series sees Bob Saetta finally having his showdown with brother “Paul the Wall,” but not before he learns a little secret about his wife Penny.

The Good: As anyone who’s ever opened an issue of Back to Brooklyn can tell you, the first thing you’ll notice here is the artwork. Vukelic has an incredibly unique, realistic, and gritty style that has all the makings of a future star. His work on Back to Brooklyn has been consistently impressive and often the best thing about the comic. In this issue, Vukelic really shines, as he once again proves that despite his polished style, he knows his brutality.

And boy, oh boy is this comic brutal. Lasting around a third of the issue, Bob’s fight with Paul is a nasty, bloody contest that manages to satisfy, even in the face of the series-long build-up to it. This is a really ugly seven pages and the amount of punishment that both men endure borders upon outrageous. It’s gruesome to the point of being hard to read, but if you’re a gore-hound, it’s also about as glorious as violence can get. Vukelic’s hyper-realistic style only makes all the more visceral, impactful, and cringe-worthy.

What’s Not-So-Good: Unfortunately, Ennis decided that having the last issue be built around the final fight just wouldn’t be good enough. Thus, the heart of the issue is Penny’s secret. Now, the good part of this is that it really is a stunner. However, as these things often go, reality quickly sets in as I realized that it just didn’t make much sense. Penny spends some time explaining her rationale, but still, it just doesn’t work, perhaps because we’ve never gotten a chance to really know her. At best, the explanation is “well, she’s crazy;”  which had me think how it was just lazy. The end result had me resenting the twist, as it was clearly done for twist’s sake alone. Due to so much of the issue resting on this reveal, the whole comic suffers for it.

I’ve also got to say that Ennis really has some trouble writing children.  I understand what Ennis is after, but Michael is really badly written. I can’t put my finger on what it was exactly, but his words didn’t seem quite right and it all ended up feeling a bit contrived. I honestly found him nothing but irritating. I just didn’t feel that a lot of thought was put into writing him.

Conclusion: A relatively solid conclusion  to a solid series that suffers a bit for trying to be too much. The simple concluding battle we were all expecting was fantastic.  However, the big twist we were expecting wasn’t so great.  While not bad and ultimately satisfying, it’s still a bit of a mixed bag as a result.

Grade: C+

-Alex Evans