Friday, September 4, 2015

Review - Soulbinder #1

"We've got a case. C'mon."

Even the best cops square off against their equals in the criminal element from time to time. Rarely though do those criminals boast a supernatural component to their deeds. That's the case in Soulbinder #1. The issue is written by Jimmy Wahl, illustrated by Aaron Bolduc and lettered by Joe Daxberger.

When a missing man turns up dead, the detectives assigned to his case find themselves on the trail of a serial killer.

It's difficult to open an issue without dialogue, but that's just what Wahl does in Soulbinder #1. The opening pages depict a tragedy at the hospital as the catalyst for the events of the present, even if the present is a little mysterious. It's not so much that the presentation is necessarily meant to be mysterious per se; rather, it seems as if there are a few gaps in information missing from the first issue. Wahl likely has a grander plan in mind that will present more details surrounding the mysterious serial killer and his ties to the lead detective. The dialogue attempts to provide some of the context for the events, even if it does pull heavily from the police procedural playbook.

Soulbinder #1 depicts the action through extremely simple linework. Bolduc makes use of sharp, black lines cutting against stark white backgrounds to convey the action. There are some panels where Bolduc seems to have a little difficult in rendering the anatomy of characters; for instance, the appearance of a character raising her hand to brush through her hair looks a little unnatural. Many of the facial expressions of the characters look extremely simple--they're effective enough where you know what's going on. The panel layout is generally a standard grid with a few insets mixed in to keep the look fresh.

The premise behind Soulbinder #1 is a little murky by the end of the issue. There appears to be larger forces at work against the police and the evil men of the streets, but what exactly is behind that power remains to be seen. Wahl is probably working to converge the killer and lead detective at some point down the line, with the two having a connection that exceeds that of hunter/killer. Bolduc's illustrations demonstrate a generally uncomplicated approach to the artwork that do enough to carry the action visually. Soulbinder #1 is likely the start of a broader story that's representative of more ambitious storytelling.

Soulbinder #1 is available now.


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