Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review - Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1 (@ComixTribe)

"The first thing I need to make clear to you is that you are not in control."

Playing the robber as a kid when playing cops and robbers was generally viewed as the more exciting of the roles. There's something inherently enjoyable about being able to operate with little regard for the rules or confines of the law. That's especially true for a character like Oxymoron, a truly deranged psychopath with nothing but blood on his mind. ComixTribe shows blood and more in Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1. The issue is written by John Lees, illustrated by Alex Cormack, colored by Jules Rivera and lettered by Tyler James.

An afflicted detective hunts a serial killer obsessed with contradiction, who is painting a bloody canvass of carnage with the entrails of politicians and power brokers in the corrupt city she calls home. It's a story that answers the question "What if The Joker came to a Gotham without Batman?"

Credit where credit's due: Lees manages to make Oxymoron's presence felt despite using him quite sparingly in the first issue. Most of the issue revolves around Mary, a cop struggling with an affliction that possibly cost the life of a past partner. Lees (and James) don't go too deeply into Mary's past as to what really happened, but there's plenty of context to let the reader know that something pretty awful must have happened. Using her as the point of view for the story is done effectively, as it reveals information about Oxymoron in a way that is revealing to both the character and reader. And Oxymoron as an antagonist is sufficiently unhinged, gleefully parading through the city in the shadows while pulling the strings of the parties relevant to his plan.

Oxymoron's style is simple and understated. Cormack illustrates him in a clean, white suit, which would seem completely inappropriate for the character if you didn't realize he probably chose it to make the blood stains of his victims show up more readily. Rivera uses the color red to tremendous effect as well, littering the pages with it where appropriate so that it underscores the violent nature of Oxymoron. Other characters are illustrated with appearances expected for various walks of life, but there are a few issues with anatomy here and there. Some of the perspectives in various panels present the characters in a slightly distorted fashion, which doesn't detract from the book, but is noticeable on occasion.

Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1 sets the table while also letting the reader know that a vicious killer is outside the house, ready to come in. Oxymoron and Mary will most certainly cross paths and how the two interact with one another is shaping up to be quite fascinating. Lees and James have crafted a very solid first issue that hits all the right notes and gets the reader's interest piqued. Cormack's art is simple and clean, offering characters whose facial expressions often border on exaggerated. Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1 is a great first issue that takes somewhat familiar concepts and spins them in a new way.

Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1 is in stores now.


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