That’s the premise of Spy Island, a comic that treats espionage - and the wildest sci-fi and fantasy phenomena you can imagine - as an ordinary, work-a-day job. We follow Nora Freud, a seasoned secret agent who wishes the bureaucracy of spycraft wouldn’t get in the way of the thrill of a good assassination.
We join her at one of the island’s many charitable fundraisers, where she and her fellow spies gather to garner information and schmooze with one another. There, she runs into Harry, a sleazy, womanizing, low-rent James Bond type. The two apparently go way back, and Nora vaguely tolerates Harry’s shenanigans with an eyeroll.
Not too much happens in this issue. It’s mainly spent introducing us to the world and establishing the general tone. It’s a world where just about anything can happen—and nobody really cares. Strange monsters and evil supervillains are just part of the daily routine. Might as well face them with a sardonic sense of humor.
Following the plot isn’t as important as getting immersed in the world. As such, the action is occasionally broken up by things like a who’s who of the spy world, a copy of the invitation to a Save the Mermaids fundraiser and an ad for all the things you can experience as a Bermuda Triangle tourist—some of which may or may not kill you.
The artwork is just as important in building this world as the writing. Of course, that’s true of just about any comic, but in this case, a lot of the humor is derived from bizarre, colorful background characters. We also get some beautifully vivid depictions of our tropical island setting, which is nice.
This comic is silly and weird and just enough over the top to be interesting, without veering too far into the ridiculous. We’ve only just barely scratched the surface of possibilities for this story. I’m very interested to see how things unfold in future issues.
Creative Team: Chelsea Cain (creator, writer), Lia Miternique (creator, cover/designer/supplemental art), Elise McCall (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer), Stella Greenvoss (supplemental art)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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