Review - Pirate Eye: Mark of the Black Widow

The private investigator is an unsung hero. The man (usually) who takes the case when no one else will and solves it through some combination of wit, know how and persuasiveness. Rarely is the private eye also a pirate, but pirate PIs have to eat too. Pirate PIs like Smitty in Pirate Eye: Mark of the Black Widow from Action Lab Comics.

The one-shot is written by Joe Grahn with art by Carl Yonder.

Smitty is a pirate and a detective, probably in that order. He's hired by the Governor to find a missing lady, obviously nervous about her not being in his control. This takes Smitty on a trip through town, making friends, chatting up contacts and doing general investigating.

Smitty's investigation takes him to Madame Collette's, a house of ill repute among many and a source of pleasures for few. It's here that he finds the object of his investigation in a young woman, but Smitty quickly learns that she's part of something much, much deeper.

Grahn's story is solid and simple enough. Making Smitty a pirate and a private investigator is pretty fresh, as it offers up the mythos of two character types in one. And their interplay works quite nicely together actually, with Smitty using pirate ways to better advance aspects of the private investigator in him.

The other characters are also full of life and interesting, making the entire atmosphere in the book one that's easy to get immersed in. There are no epic ship battles or anything, but there's enough here that you get he's a pirate. The greater mystery that could be explored in future issues is how he became a private investigator.

Yonder's art is very rough and dark, which works exceptionally well for Pirate Eye: Mark of the Black Widow. There are a lot of low light environs Smitty visits, including a bar, street at night and docks, all of which are depicted flawlessly as such. In fact, Yonder's use of shading really helps with the pirate tone of the book, making it feel like you're in a port town alongside Smitty.

It's a shame it's only a one-shot, as there's a lot more Pirate Eye: Mark of the Black Widow could explore. The issue's epilogue definitely could set up a future storyline and, again, finding out more about Smitty would be great material. In the meantime, enjoy following him along on his one case, watching him do what a pirate and a private investigator does best.

Pirate Eye: Mark of the Black Widow is available for pre-order (Diamond Code OCT120722) with a December release in comic book shops and various digital distribution outlets.


  1. You'll be happy to know that Pirate Eye will be released roughly quarterly as a series of one-shots.


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