Review - John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye #1 (@PLBCOMICS)

"Mobie Graye is dead."

If there's a gruesome murder that needs investigating, then you need a good investigator. In John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye #1 from PLB Comics, John is such an investigator. The issue is written and illustrated by Josh Shockley and lettered by James Dufendach.

John and his best friend Bobby Zhub Zhub on the trail of the murderer of their old mentor and beloved village council member, Mobie Graye. As they embark upon their quest to bring Mobie’s killer to justice, they quickly find the path to be a perilous one, brimming with danger, surprises and twists and turns.

The entirety of the narrative flows through the buddy cop team of John and Bobby Zhub Zhub as they investigate the murder of Mobie Graye. Shockley does a good job of making the story accessible to the reader through very informative dialogue, although there are parts of the setting that feel as if they could've been more fleshed out. For instance, Mobie serves (served?) on a council of sorts and the motivation for this murder is because of his progressive views. That being said, Shockley doesn't do much world-building in explaining more about why Mobie was as big a deal as he's made out to be; sure, John waxes poetic about him repeatedly, but the actions that got him killed aren't really revealed until the very end of the issue. And John is heavy on the inner-monologue as Shockley sometimes over-explains things through John's narration.

Shockley's artwork in the issue is very minimal which helps sell the entire concept very well. John is a character with a hefty presence on the page and Shockley does well to contrast Bobby Zhub Zhub with him for effect. The noir look sets the right atmosphere, but it doesn't afford Shockley much opportunity to showcase various panel perspectives. There are many instances where the characters feel flat within the panels, providing little depth to make the panels feel fully lived-in. Shockley's character designs are certainly unique though, instantly informing the reader that what's happening is in a very different setting.

John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye #1 is a fun first issue that is really a one-shot of sorts as it pertains to the case at hand. John and Bobby Zhub Zhub have a good rapport with one another, riffing off of one another in their murder investigation. Shockley's narrative is very much in the neighborhood of a whodunnit set against a foreign, fantasy backdrop. Shockley's artwork is a good fit for the book tonally in that it lets the reader's imagination run wild with ideas. John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye #1 could be the start of a larger series with unique characters and a sense of a grander picture in feel effect.

John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye #1 is available now.