Victorie City is a new, four-issue comic book series from the collaborative partnership of IDW and 44Flood. Filmmaker turned writer Keith Carmack and member of 44Flood has written a dark noir psychological crime thriller of a good cop investigating a missing girl case while navigating the precarious waters of a saturated corrupt police force. On the flip side, readers also see inside the mind of an intelligent and articulate serial killer. Carmack is joined by artist Vincent Nappi (who also completed the subscription cover), letterer/designer Jessi Adrignola, and editor Carlos Guzman. The regular cover, a fantastic wrap-around brilliantly capturing the dark, gritty tone of the story, was created by guest cover artist and one of the founding members of 44Flood, Ben Templesmith.
In a recent interview, Carmack compared Victorie City to the film Se7en (1995), and from reading through the first issue, it is true that he has utilized well-worn genre tropes in establishing the two overarching storylines and the main characters. While it would have been refreshing to read something new, Carmack has utilized those tropes to create a tightly written story with two opposing formidable characters. In addition, he has developed good contrast of voices between all of the characters thus far.
The visuals feel as though they are in a constant state of motion and turmoil which accentuates the noir atmosphere. Nappi’s choice of primarily dominant panel colors are reminiscent of the early silent films that were colorized to evoke particular moods, depending on the tone of the scene. It’s a nice touch and is effective; however, Nappi probably could have added a touch more detail into character features, especially in the long shots. It would have removed any doubt as to who a character was during those scenes.
Since Nappi’s visuals have fluidity, the font and speech bubbles in the opening scene at the diner and in the follow-up scene with the serial killer worked really well. The thick font sits heavily on the page, especially where Adrignola uses white font on the black background. They anchor each panel, are creepy, and complement Nappi’s art style. The hard-edged speech boxes and thinner font choice during Detective Ness’ scenes may capture the strung out and hopelessness he feels towards the police force, but it doesn’t quite complement Nappi’s art style as well as in the opening scenes. If Adrignola had used the same shaped boxes during those scenes, there would have been uniformity in the appearance and would have kept a consistency of separation between both storylines.
Like the two juxtaposed main stories in Victorie City, this is a diamond in the rough. The series had quite a few positives, showing promise. I think that Carmack will surprise the reader with several twists and turns in the subsequent three issues, so if you are a fan of hard-boiled crime stories and are willing to overlook the minor weaker aspects of the series, then this mini-series is worth the read and your pull list.