Image Comics 2016
Written by Alex De Campi
Illustrated by Tony Parker
Coloured by Blond
A Cold War action-thriller like no other. It's 1971, and two young Soviet operatives are sent to California to kill a defector and recover top-secret information. As the mission falls apart into a mess of good sex, bad drugs, and ugly violence, the young Russians are faced with a dilemma: they need to rely on each other to escape America, but they must betray each other to survive Russia.
This is one of those moments when you think damn I wish this were a double-sized first issue because you just don’t want it to end. It’s amazing well crafted and the interiors are stunningly detailed. The whole premise of this time with a defector and a KGB hit squad going after him well it smacks of the Cold War and Vietnam era antics that are slowly fading from memory. Oh and there’s a moment early on here where a character is using a pay phone in a phone booth that I just adored, not that kids these days will know what one is. It’s the little things and the attention Alex pays to them that really makes this stand out.
Super impressed with the interiors. The attention to detail is astonishing, the use of page layouts with angles, perspective and backgrounds really fleshes everything out beautifully. The near fearlessness of showing nudity, if she’s full on a he should be too folks it’s 2016, and the barely there member of the Russian Comrade well it just really was exceptionally well done. The scene in the Desert was fantastically rendered and the colours were very much a sign of the times kudos. It really drew me in as a reader into this adventure and put me in this era were I was just a year old so can’t remember other than through family photos.
Ilike the direction the story is taking what with the East Coast branch knowing that the West Coast guys are too laid back and stupid to know how to really handle a man like General Ivan Ivanovitch Yeresovsky. The wording and phrases used here while they are in Langley really are spectacular and in many regards what we think of them as well. I do think the characterisation that follows suit with that assessment was very well done. It could’ve gone the way of being right or wrong and I think the way Alex had it play out was best.
After a night partying in the desert the Russian agents are left to their own devices, they got played big time. The three, we’ll call them miscreants, saw an opportunity and took it and yeah that works out well for them indeed. While our two dear Russians wake up to a surprise of their own. That whole desert scene was amazing and the use of alcohol, drugs and the visuals that we see, that characters see, well it really was so trippy. Vibrant, colourful and alive in so many ways, though let’s be honest Felix’s thoughts and the girl, not his partner, made me laugh and question his sexuality. Still I thought the placement of that statement was one of the best things i’ve seen in awhile.
Creative, unique and all kinds of unexpected moments fill this first issue with a delight to the senses.