Review - Spy Island #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Salt water does have one takes forever to drown someone."

The Bermuda Triangle has always been a source of mystery and fear. There's plenty to its mystique that makes for fascinating stories and Spy Island #1 from Dark Horse Comics embraces that aura. The issue is written by Chelsea Cain, illustrated by Elise McCall (supplemental art by Lia Miternique and Stella Greenvoss), colored by Rachelle Rosenberg and lettered by Joe Caramagna.

Super spy Nora Freud (no relation) has a plum assignment. She's stationed on a tropical island. Her mission? Keep an eye on things. Her problem? The island is on the lip of the Bermuda Triangle, where anything can happen. Her other problem?This particular island is a den of intrigue, populated by spies, tourists, and evil villains set on global domination.

For a good majority of the issue Cain introduces the reader to Nora Freud, a sharp-tongued spy seemingly bored with the monotony of being a spy. Setting the story in the Bermuda Triangle adds an additional layer of complexity to the story in that it provides quite a few unexpected twists on the traditional spy story. Nora's dialogue is very entertaining with Cain using it as a means of conveying to the reader the tone the book is going for: very tongue-in-cheek. Considering Cain opens the story with an assassination the book could easily get dark quick and it does to an extent, although Nora's levity helps keep things very light. The overarching story also seeks to work in some of the more supernatural elements of the Bermuda Triangle and Cain's ending to the first issue shows its not shy about getting weird.

McCall's illustrations trap the book in a certain era in a way, mostly because the style is a throwback to newspaper comic strips in a way. The linework provides well-defined characters, all of whom are rendered with an attention to excessive beauty befitting of typical spy-centric books. The characters' wardrobe is a throwback to the 70s, filling out an atmosphere of a different era where things were much more free-wheeling in terms of society. McCall organizes the artwork with meticulously planned panels, relying on a traditional grid layout for keeping the readers' eyes moving in the right direction. Rosenberg's colors are bright and vivid as well, further alleviating the story of any excess of seriousness.

Spy Island #1 is a nonchalant look at the life of a spy, buoyed by an equally nonchalant spy. Nora is a very entertaining lead character, completely comfortable in her abilities as a spy/assassin and really unphased by any new developments that crop up. Cain's narrative is lighthearted in its approach, providing ample moments of humor and amusing situations. McCall's artwork is a great match for the tone of the book, while the supplemental artwork by Miternique and Greenvoss further set the tone properly. Spy Island #1 is a really slick first issue that offers a new take on the spy genre, working in some killer mermaids along the way.

Spy Island #1 is available April 1.