Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review - And Then Emily Was Gone #1


"And then Emily was gone."

There are stories parents tell to their children to keep them in line. Stories that teeter on the edge of being downright evil. And while many of the stories are just that--stories--there are people in the world who are capable of more evil than the fictional characters of morality. Those people exist in our world and are explored in And Then Emily Was Gone #1 from ComixTribe. The issue is written by John Lees, illustrated by Iain Laurie, colored by Megan Wilson and lettered by Colin Bell.

Greg has a unique ability: he can see monsters in life instead of people. It's something that has pushed him to the edge, forcing him to retire as a detective and find ways to soothe the madness seemingly ever present in front of him. That madness subsides when he's greeted by Fiona knocking on his door and seeking his assistance in finding her friend Emily, who mysteriously disappeared. Fiona thinks there are devilish forces at work and feels that Greg is the only one capable of providing her the assistance she needs to find her missing friend.

In what is an extremely ambitious first issue, Lees is going for broke. Probably the most apt comparison to the book is Luther, as both pitch a troubled detective against an undercurrent of seemingly evil individuals inhabiting the world of the living. There are a few varying plotlines introduced in the first issue, all of which will likely merge at some point. Lees methodically lays them out in a way that slowly pulls the leader along deeper into the burgeoning mystery. Greg and Fiona's journey is the main thrust of the book, but there are two other sub-plots that speak to what is likely a larger evil pulling strings behind the scenes. There's also the curious legend of Bonnie Shaw thrown in to add a certain level of boogeyman to everything, making the story feel less like a standard police book and more like a supernatural thriller.

While the story is shaping up to be very sound, Laurie's art will likely be the bigger talking point. His illustrations are extremely crude in a way that's befitting of the vagueness surrounding the characters involved. It's a style that eschews the sheen and finish found in most book for something more primal; perhaps something that speaks to the notion that everyone has ugliness inside of them. It's a style that will likely turn off a lot of readers because it does look juvenile in some instances, but it's perfectly fitting for the eeriness of the story. Laurie uses a lot of interesting perspectives--many of which feature one character towering over another--that seem to indicate the power that some people have over others. The illustrations are emboldened by Wilson's muddy color choice that keeps the book down in the doldrums, save for a few splashes of red and pink when things get violent.

And Then Emily Was Gone #1 is a very intriguing book. On first read, the entirety of the story didn't completely sink in, but a subsequent read showed there's a lot being woven together. The title of the book itself is a pretty powerful hook and does a great job of presenting the reader a glimpse of what's in store for them. Lees establishes a few key players in the first issue and does so in a way that doesn't feel at all forced. Laurie's art is very volatile in some ways and keeps the vagueness of the book intact thanks to his lack of a more traditional structure. And Then Emily Was Gone #1 starts the story by throwing a lot of balls in the air that readers can hope will be successfully juggled and given proper attention when the time comes.

And Then Emily Was Gone #1 is in stores now.

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