‘Fear Case #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Matt Kindt and Tyler and Hillary Jenkins have worked on three series together: Grass Kings, Black Badge, and now Fear Case. Once I saw that the series was coming down the pipes, I got very excited. Each collaboration between the three has gotten better and better, and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that we’re off to a smashing good start with Fear Case.

In a world that crosses over with some of Kindt’s other stories, the Secret Service has had an unsolvable case that they give to new agents with the time limit of one year to solve. It’s a case that - on paper - dates back to WWII, but secretly could go pretty far back and carries with it a cumbersome list of dos and don’ts.  If you can imagine The Ring movies or a nasty chain mail letter come to life, really terrible things happen if this case is not handled appropriately.

Our two Secret Service agents - with three weeks left to solve the mystery - have a solid lead. You’re immediately on board with them. One is earnest and certain they’ll figure out the case; the other is skeptical, but going along for the ride. They start getting in over their heads almost right away!  BIPOC characters have been included in other stories by Kindt, but not as prominently as Agents Mitchum and Winters. It's great to see this inclusion with the main characters.

Even though there are moments where watercolor effectively bleeds the colors together, the artists Tyler and Hilary give the world a chalky feel, making it raw. It’s almost like watching a gritty, grainy neo-noir film from the '70s that hasn’t been remastered. It’s very stylized and brings an unnerving quality to the proceedings. Details are sometimes lost, but Tyler’s faces fill in all of the gaps. There’s something very real about this version of Los Angeles. Maybe that’s just because there’s something very filmic about the look of it. The two-page splash that opens the issue is epic in that regard.

The dialogue is crisp and reminds me of the witty repartee of noir films, as well. As with all of Kindt’s other work (and with Daniel Chabon editing), I’m excited to see where this leads. There’s no way this series will lead you astray.


Creative Team: Matt Kindt (writer), Tyler Jenkins (art), Hilary Jenkins (color), Daniel Chabon (editor), Chuck Howitt (assistant editor), Josei Christensen (digital art technician), Patrick Satterfield (designer), Mike Richardson (publisher)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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