Happy Comicphiles day! On this week’s edition, we are looking at three different comics with cover art that elicits feelings of warmth with their summer toned colour palettes. This sting of the winter is still wafting through the air in the new year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t warm ourselves up by curling around the fire and indulging in the newest hot properties on the comic scene. This week’s three offerings come from Dark Horse, Oni Press and Boom! studios respectively.
Let’s kick off with Mystery Girl #1 from Dark Horse Comics. Sadly (and much to the chagrin of this contributor) this is not an interpretation of the Peter Andre tune of a similar name. Although, If Dark Horse Comics are looking for a writer for that one, then my e-mail can be found just below this article.
It is actually about a London-based detective named Trine Hamstead. Given the setting of the comic, there are obvious comparatives to Sherlock Holmes that could be made, but their methods and background dictate that they are very different in the way that they operate. One overlying similarity is that both feel an intense need to never leave a case unsolved. The defining difference between them is that Trine has solved every case she has ever gotten in a matter of seconds. Her high success rate in her line of work stems from the uncanny ability that she possesses; Trine knows the answer to everything.
When prompted by a question from a client, her mind instinctively conjures up the answer upon hearing it. The unfortunate catch 22 of this power is that Trine cannot discern the source of her power. Hence the title of ‘Mystery Girl’.
Mystery Girl has a very distinct art style and, in particular, has to be credited for its accuracy in terms of body proportions. Characters in this comic are made up of varied and different shapes much like a real society. There is an unfortunate lack of this level of representation in Marvel and DC comics, so it is really appreciated here in this Dark Horse property.
The comic itself does a great job building up the extent of Trine’s power with simplistic mysteries that gradually build before revealing a grand one to solve before the end of the issue. A tease involving prehistoric creatures is the hook for its potential future issues. Additionally, there is an assassin knocking about in search of our titular hero for reasons unbeknownst to the reader. All we know is that he is a giant douche.
Overall, it was a pretty solid first issue. It is admittedly a bit slow in parts, mainly as it’s trying to ease you in and establish the character. Where it makes up for this is in the fresh colours it displays that draw your eye and in the promised intrigue that the story has yet to tell.
Will I Continue Reading? Sure.
From one strong title to another, Cognetic is a Boom! Studios comic that bolsters a narrative that is reminiscent of classic science fiction. The vibe presented here is akin to that of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and They Live. It is a cinematically told story that pairs double-panel set pieces and surprisingly profound dialogue.
There isn’t really a main character for the story, as it’s told from the perspective of different aliens in human guises as they put a plan into motion that they have been concocting for years. They have hidden on the planet to observe the rise of the human race. They have been to Earth before in a time long past as rulers; a hive mind consciousness controlling every living organism on the planet. Now, their time has come once again to reclaim what they perceive to be their property.
A secondary character lends us the human element of the narrative as we are greeted by a young woman who works with the FBI and strangely seems to be familiar with the beings that have come from another world. The psychic link that the aliens share is known by the agent, which adds a note of uncertainty to the impending battle which is sure to occur. A statement is made atop the Empire State Building illustrating the power that they wield and their intended proposition for the human race.
It is initially a daunting first issue to get into due to the language being used, but once you have a thesaurus handy or you have grasped the dialogue from re-reading certain lines, it’s a task that becomes easier to digest with each page. It is as strong of a start to an issue as I have ever seen. An admittedly typical storyline is beefed up by virtue of the interesting choices of focus in panels and the on-point writing effort from James Tynion IV. This is genuinely the best first issue I have read in a long time.
Will I Continue Reading? Unquestionably.
Exodus: The Life After
Published by Oni Press Studios, Exodus: The Life After is a follow-up comic from a prior series simply known as The Life After. Since this is a sequel to that previous run, it goes naturally as an extension of its predecessor.
An argument can be made that any first issue worth its salt should have a brief summary either in the initial pages of the comic or on the reverse of the cover. Thankfully, the basis of the plot is simple enough to grasp for this first issue at least, despite the lack of a recap.
We are introduced to a party of two made up of a young girl and an elderly man who are seeking to release their friend from imprisonment. Through their actions to free him, they rig a device that triggers an explosion causing a pursuit to take place between them and a group known as The Angels. It is firmly established in their escape that the young girl is the elder man’s superior. A nice twist of expectation that lends character to the two leads present. The reasoning behind their search involves a means to overthrow the overseeing eye that is present in the world they are in, referred to as Purgatory. Jude, the child of God, is their last hope and they will take any means necessary to get him back.
Exodus: The Life After has an odd look about it. In relation to coloring and art style, it is a rarity to find a clash of this nature that just doesn’t fit right on the page. Reds and blues marry well together in a series of scenes, but it is undercut by the rather underwhelming art of the comic. Certain background pieces are drawn well and yet the characters themselves feel underdeveloped from a sketching point of view. Comparatively, the characters bring shades of the Legend of Zelda game for the Sega CD to mind. This may well be down to a limited budget or perhaps it is a particular choice made by the artist. Either way, the art is questionably unrefined.
Qualms aside, the comic does have a foundation to build upon with the dynamic of the elder and youth that we were introduced to and, additionally, in the promising narrative that it is shaping up to have. Perhaps the package feels more complete after reading the previous series, but for now, the pros are outclassed by the overall unappealing art that creates something of a jarring experience.
Will I Continue Reading? Probably not.
Read any of the comics above? Let us know, so we can fight you with our secret alien army of body snatchers.