“Police are losing the war on organised crime in this city” - News Reader.
Please note this article should be read in conjunction with our piece on the preview release of Winter City to get the full skinny. This review highlights a few points I initially missed in the preview article.
Winter City is apparently on the brink of open chaos if you believe some sectors of the local Police force. For sure gangs are in control of the streets with knifings common and other crimes threatening to overwhelm the forces of law and order, but worse is ready to descend on the smouldering dark streets.
Detectives Daniels and Harvey are called in to investigate the brutal murder of a local business leader and philanthropist. Their only eye witness claims the murder was committed by death himself, which is going to kind of make solving the case problematic. But what is the reason for the murder, and is it, as implied, the opening gambit in a much larger game?
One the advantages of doing a preview of a new comic and then getting the final release in your hands is you get a second bite at the cherry in terms of writing a review. So you get to cover some of the things you missed in the initial review and also to revisit with the actual story itself, generally a good thing downunder.
Firstly let's get that pesky technical thing out of the way. Winter City #1 arrives as a professional looking comic with an explicit “for mature audiences” warning on the front cover. The Purcells doing their civic duties there and not trying to hide things like some major brands do. It's a full colour effort throughout and is in U.S comic book format. Binding is via a couple of staples, which should be strong enough for collectors to be comfortable with the longevity of things. Winter City comes with no advertising and is cover to cover panels, so no wasted space or coupons or anything else equally as horrid to wade through, it's all comic baby!
While I think in the review of the online version of the comic I got it pretty right on the plot front, also helped to be able to read the overall synopsis, there was the odd point that escaped my attention in the first article.
One question is raised early on the plot front, how does Death (who is probably the kid dropped off at his uncle's place in a flashback) know about Alan McLean being responsible for some major crimes? Either there's going to be a supernatural explanation or the Reaper has a day job that allows him access to some information the general public aren't privy to. Don't you love it when the first issue of a new comic series throws a bunch of questions at you! Hopefully #2 isn't that far off the publishing schedule and we get some flesh added to the bones.
Here in the ScaryMind's bunker there has also been a heavy amount of conjecture about which of the seven deadly sins first victim Alan McLean is actually guilty of committing. While I ran with “gluttony”, Alan is a bit of a wide boy who likes his takeaway salty goodness, an argument is also being put up for “sloth” being a good candidate. Sitting on your arse in front of the tellie channel surfing certainly doesn't equate to an energetic lifestyle. Regardless of which position is right, the other topic of conversation was in what order are the seven deadly sins going to be realised. If we accept the standard Catholic order (Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, Gluttony), and the last one has been represented in issue one then we are probably going to proceed in reverse order. Of course the Purcells may have other ideas, and we might be completely off base here, but something to think about at least.
A couple of points on the artwork and we'll call a wrap to this one. Munoz and Riquelme knock one out of the ballpark, (they probably wouldn't get the whole “kicking a major” thing, society differences and all), with the representation of emotion via background colour. Check the panels that depict the Grim Reaper visiting retribution on Alan McLean’s arse as compared to the rest of the panels. The artists' use red shadings to depict highly charged anger, and highlight the nature of psychopathic behaviour in doing so. It's a masterful use of colour to depict something that is pretty hard to do outside live action outings.
One of the few criticisms I would aim at Winter City is in the depiction of winter, and the snow shrouded streets of the City. I didn't get a feeling of cold from the art, with the snow acting as more background variation than depicting “the coldest winter on record”. Minor point, but worth making I believe in a constructive fashion.
Alrighty review in and sort of around the word limit, okay only slightly over. I had a lot of fun with the original preview edition of Winter City #1 so was wrapped when the actual print version arrived in the mail. Very solid, professional, and with a hell of a lot of hang time in the plot arcs. I'm now sweating on June 2011 when issue 2 hits shelves. Excellent start to what promises to be an engrossing graphic novel that might just push some limits.
ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...br> br> The print edition backs the preview online edition, we're in for funtimes here.