Review - Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"You're a hard man to find, Nicolas Fardas."

Heists are timeless. They pay no heed to time or place, which makes it that much more believable that a heist could take place in Constantinople. In Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job #1 from IDW Publishing, using Constantinople as a backdrop is a fine idea. The issue is written by Brian Clevinger, illustrated by Meredith McClaren, colored by J.N. Weidle (main story) and Shan Murphy (back-up story) and lettered by Tess Stone.

On the eve of the first Crusade, the fate of the world rests in the hands of a disgraced soldier, an assassin, an orphan, a scribe, and a thief who have no idea they're pawns in a clash of civilizations. Heretical texts, ancient star maps, sacred geometries, and one impossible heist. The deepest dive into the history of Atomic Robo's world starts right here!

Clevinger has essentially crafted a tale that's reminiscent of Ocean's 11, but set in Constantinople on the eve of the First Crusade. The central focus of the story is Nicolas putting together a team of otherwise unsavory characters to steal back valuable books and Clevinger manages their dynamic well. Constantinople at the time was at the height of power in the world, full of extreme wealth and power; that setting alone is a fascinating one for Clevinger to plumb. Clevinger also turns a concept in Constantinople of lending out rare texts on its head, modernizing it by adding in blackmail and extortion. The man behind the crimes is a shared evil for all involved and Clevinger uses that as the thread holding the characters (and the story) together so tightly.

McClaren's art style is beautiful in simplicity. Her linework is a blend of angles and curves that seem to be married together pretty well. McClaren illustrates the characters so that each has their own unique look to them; the eyes in particular are very expressive despite a relatively lack of detail elsewhere. The panels are arranged very neatly and organized, allowing for a consistent visual flow throughout the book. Weidle's colors are rich and vibrant, infusing Constantinople with a more modern look that helps the book feel more believable.

Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job #1 is an extremely solid first issue that introduces the reader to all the relevant players and the central plot. Nicolas is something of a master criminal looking for others like him for what's essentially the perfect heist. Clevinger infuses the book with the right amount of humor and wit. McClaren's artwork is the perfect match for the tone of the story in its simplicity and presentation. Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job #1 is an enjoyable issue that's a pretty light read.

Real Science Adventures: The Nicodemus Job #1 is available now.