Friday, April 22, 2016

Review - Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1 (@ImageComics)


"I still don't see why you want to rehash all this stuff. No one's going to believe it anyway."

The noir genre is rapidly gaining a foothold in comics nowadays with more and more series popping up using the genre and its tropes. After all, the comic book medium lends itself well to the stories and events that typically accompany a noir tale. Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1 from Image Comics is one of the latest to get hard-boiled. The issue is written by B. Clay Moore and illustrated and lettered by Jacob Wyatt.

While Byrd remains in 1954 Hawaii, we meet another Byrd back in the States, and his impending arrival on the scene is destined to change the landscape of HAWAIIAN DICK forever.

It's apparent from the start that Moore is going for some pretty head noir nostalgia in Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1, starting in the "present" before flashing back to a different time in 1954. Byrd's decisions put him squarely in the conversation for something of a unlucky screw-up of sorts and Moore capitalizes on that to move the story forward. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot else going on in the issue other than Byrd moving from one tough scenario to the next. Moore does infuse the work with dialogue that feels appropriate for the time the work is set in, but a lot of the dialogue feels somewhat safe more than anything. There's some disconnect too between what exactly Byrd is trying to accomplish by jumping from one job to the next--yes, he needs money, but why is a little vague.

Offering artwork that's very stylized is Wyatt's approach that emphasizes plenty of solid linework. This linework lends a very timely appeal to the artwork that convinces readers that the pages in Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1 could easily be part of a travel magazine in the 1950s. The rounded panels lend a videographic aspect to the work too in a way that gives all the panels a stop-motion feel. It's easy to visualize what Wyatt must've scene as he was illustrating because each panel is delivered as if it was a frame in a film. The colors for each page are chosen in a way that gives the page a hue in-line with the setting being depicted on page.

Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1 is the start of what will likely be a series with plenty of intricate twists down the line. Byrd's actions in the issue reek of desperation and general bad decision-making, but whether or not he's got enough up his sleeve to overcome them remains to be seen. Moore likely has a grander plan in mind, even if the first issue feels a little dull and lacking a strong hook. Wyatt's grainy artwork is a great fit for the 1954 setting of the book, lending a nostalgic credibility to the work that further immerses the reader. Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1 has the potential to get pretty interesting really quickly if the plot can get settled in.

Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1 is in stores now.

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