Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Review - Seduction of the Innocent #1 (@DynamiteComics)


"So, you're the sharpshooter?"

The life of a detective is nothing if not fascinating. There always seems to be a case open and people to question. Some cases are bigger than others though and Seduction of the Innocent #1 from Dynamite Entertainment delves into one of the bigger ones. The issue is written by Ande Parks, illustrated by Esteve Polls, colored by Salvatore Aiala Studios and lettered by Simon Bowland.

San Francisco, 1953. FBI Agent Thomas Jennings has just arrived in the city, fresh-faced and ready to tackle crime in the big city... he thinks. In fact, Jennings is not nearly prepared for what he's about to encounter. The city's crime lords are being systematically murdered and the killers waiting to fill the void are the pure stuff of Jennings' nightmares. Jennings will be forced to question every belief he holds dear to protect his wife and unborn child from the madness.

Parks starts the issue off by establishing the setting through the use of era-relevant references. This is extremely effective for getting the reader in the proper mindset and follow along with Agent Jennings as he unravels a mystery. For much of the issue, Parks plays out the events as nothing more than an ongoing series of homicides being investigated. There are some strange, supernatural elements mixed in for good measure that aren't quite explored as much as they likely will be. The final-page reveal is also a little bit of a misdirect when compared to the entirety of the issue and Parks seems to have something much grander in mind than just having a detective solve a series of crimes.

Many of the characters sport an air of mystery about them, courtesy of Polls' illustrative style. For instance, quite a few characters are depicted with hat brims pulled low that casts a shadow on the characters' faces, adding intrigue to their presence on the page. Polls also infuses all of the characters with a look that's appropriate for the era the work takes place in, emphasizing a hard-working persona evident in all the players. The panel layouts mix in an array of styles that ebb and flow with the action, ensuring that things don't get boring visually. Pages boast largely dull blues and harsh yellows for the colors, generating a night and day mentality befitting the actions of the good guys and bad guys.

Seduction of the Innocent #1 is a detective tale that turns the concept of mob bosses running things on its head. The ending of the issue feels even more topsy-turvy and comes somewhat out of left field. Parks spends most of the first issue defining the lead character as someone who's capable of getting the job done despite some demons of his own. Polls' illustrations are a throwback to the look that the book is emulating. Seduction of the Innocent #1 is a good first issue dripping with mystery and intrigue befitting such a story.

Seduction of the Innocent #1 is in stores now.

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