I just finished the first collection of Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis's fantastic new comic, "Desolation Jones" (My new formula for graphic novel goodness: walk into LA's Secret Headquarters, buy any three books on the recommended new release table, go to funnybook heaven).
Desolation Jones, the title character, is an ex-MI6 spook whose problem drinking led to him being usedin a series of searing, mind-destroying medical tests. Now he's disgraced and exiled, living in an underculture LA that is home to an entire village of ex-spies who are imprisoned there by their masters, faced with death should they leave the city limits.
Desolation Jones unfolds like a Hammett novel, like Red Harvest, with a private eye — Jones — being recruited by an evil old bastard to retreive some stolen property (in a fit of Ellis-esque genius, the missing prize is a rare reel of Adolph Hitler's homemade pornography).
The violence, anger, and sleaze are pure noir, but the spy-tech and setting are total Ellis. This was a great and savage ride, and its definitely not for the faint of heart. If you like your graphic novels both graphic and novel, Desolation Road is it.
Update: Gustavo sez, "your Hammett guess was good, but the plot of the first arc of Desolation Jones is pretty much a straight ripoff/hommage/remix of
Chandler's "The Big Sleep" (heavily influenced visually by the 1945/6
movie based on it)."