The only problem with #0 issues of comics is that if it’s a really good introduction, readers are left desperately wanting more. The Yuan Twins’ latest work, Inspector Oh #0, definitely falls into that category. It follows the adventures of the titular Inspector Oh (an exorcist) and his scrappy, capable, and quite probably more practical “niece” (If I read this issue correctly, Oh and Ziyi are not actually blood relations; Oh is a close friend of Ziyi’s parents, so he’s like family.) as they travel around China battling various supernatural threats.
For me the first big appeal of Inspector Oh was the historical Asian background focusing on the ghosts, ghouls, and creepy-crawlers common in China rather than those more commonly referenced in English language comics. Matt and John Yuan take the time to include information about the unfamiliar threats complete with illustrations showing how they are typically depicted. I found these little tidbits fascinating and helpful, and, hopefully, other readers will enjoy them, too!
Oh and Ziyi’s short adventure in Issue #0 illustrates their odd, affectionate, but also irritating bond (at least for Ziyi; I could see her longing to backhand Oh in a few panels). A lot of their interactions reminded me of Inspector Gadget and his niece, Penny, where the adult male is actually a bit air headed and overly lucky, while the younger female is really the one holding things together. I appreciated Ziyi being the brawn in their two-person operation, as well; she may be physically smaller than Oh, but she goes in guns blazing and seems like a more capable fighter against things she can actually harm physically.
The artwork in Inspector Oh #0 is cartoony, but that really adds to the accessibility and charm. I think a more eclectic art style might keep younger readers from even trying a comic that already tackles a less familiar culture, and the simple style helps streamline the action sequences into something I could follow easily. (I do sometimes find overly busy action scenes a little overwhelming.)
The only thing holding this issue back from 5 stars for me is that I wanted more story! The patter between Oh and Ziyi flowed well, and the supernatural battles kept me interested until the last page. Definitely pick this one up, and if you enjoy it as much as I did, pre-order the first issue now. (It’ll be out in October!)
4.5 Ridiculous Uses for a Brick out of 5