Let me start by saying that Mark London, Alejandro Giraldo, and Mad Cave Studios did something that I think is brilliant…and should happen in every book of this type.
Page 1: “The Story So Far…”
What a great concept: Update the reader, rehash the story, and don’t waste time in the body of the story with major reminders of what we saw last month. Instead, allow the reader to use the current storyline to remind them as they move along. I love this idea.
As for the book itself. I like where it is going but still find the journey to be a little rocky. And it really is the little things. And I will get to them, I promise…but first: what I love about this book. What I really love is the art. I said the same thing after I read Issue #1. The colors are fantastic, and it really looks so clean that, to the untrained eye, it can be confused for computer animation. But it clearly isn’t. The earmarks of hand drawing and coloring are there…and they are really solid.
The coloring is exceptional. It is truly professional grade when coloring helps to tell a story. And that is what happens here.
It is still the writing; clumsy turns of a phrase or odd choices for descriptions hurt the flow. Kind of like tripping on the curb when you are hurrying home to check the mail. You know where you are going and you know how to get there, but damn if stumbling doesn’t slow you down and make you re-examine everything you do.
I have to admit, they have fallen into one of my biggest pet peeves: characters with familiar names. An antagonist named “Luther,” a detective named “Gordon;” I realize that names are names, but there comes a time when familiarity borders on pandering. And this felt like that time.
And all of this takes away from the really solid “who dunnit” being crafted by London. I am enjoying the twisted story AND the twisted characters. I hope they smooth the writing style without hurting the story.
Having said all of that, Issue #2 finds us continuing to follow exceptional detective Aiden McCormick as he searches for the serial killer terrorizing Detroit known internally as “the Flayer.” He uses his honed powers of deduction and his “special friends” to get answers and follow leads in a way evocative of pulp detectives who “walk the thin line” between good and bad. This being the future, we are seeing that old trope played out in a science fiction format which has a solid feel.
I like this story and I like McCormick. I think readers who enjoy classic pulps will like the direction this story is going. If you can get passed the occasionally stilted writing, it is a story worth your time.