Monday, May 23, 2016

Review - Weird Detective #1 (@DarkHorseComics)



"The Captain never questioned my methods as long as I delivered the expected results."

Solving mysteries is one of the more pronounced aspect of a detective's job description. Some detectives are better at it than others, but it's likely that a lot of them would be better if they had extrasensory perception abilities. Detective Sebastian Greene in Weird Detective #1 from Dark Horse Comics is one such detective. The issue is written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Guiu Vilanova, colored by Mauricio Wallace and lettered by

The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. And the only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Greene is one of them—it takes a monster to catch a monster.

There's a slow crescendo to weird that Van Lente takes the reader on throughout Weird Detective #1--largely via the perspective of Detective Sebastian Greene. Greene is a somewhat fascinating individual in that no one around him can seem to figure out why--all of a sudden--he can take logical leaps so quickly to solve crimes. Van Lente draws upon a character such as Sherlock Holmes for his characterization, but works in plenty more mysticism and sensory perception to keep things odd. In fact, Van Lente works in parallel tracks for both Greene's eventual reveal and the strange crimes he's investigating. It's this pacing that gives the overall creepy vibe pervasive throughout the issue as Van Lente forces Greene to reconcile with those around with him while those around him are forced to reconcile with Greene and the odd crimes.

Greene is illustrated with an emphasis on being a foreigner of sorts as Vilanova relies on steely, mysterious looks from the lead character. Those expressions are delivered fairly normally and actually seem to fit in quite well with the expressions from the characters around him. Vilanova is afforded more of the Lovecraft aspect of the book by providing visual representations of the various sensory capabilities that humans may or may not be in tune with. This gives Vilanova plenty of opportunity to really help the reader see the world as Greene does, providing valuable insights into what makes him tick as a character. Wallace relies on colors that are stark and gloomy, working perfectly within the context of the seemingly odd (and rather vicious) crimes being committed.

Weird Detective #1 successfully capitalizes on both parts of the title: the "weird" in Greene and the crimes themselves and "detective" in Greene. Greene is definitely not normal when compared to those around him (he's Canadian), but his personality buoys the direction of the story. Van Lente has mixed together equal parts creepy across the characters and the events they're contending with. Vilanova's illustrations are moody and help set the tone of the atmosphere as one of gloom. Weird Detective #1 is a really interesting first issue that's paced very well and delves into some pretty mythological subject matter.

Weird Detective #1 is in stores June 15.

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