Bad Kids Press 2015
Created, Written & Lettered by Paul Axel
Illustrated by Rene Majkut
Let's play catch up shower, Harold Wood, industrialist and beloved icon of Osprey City, Massachusetts is dead.The detective assigned to the case, Mark Robles, is a fresh transfer from Chicago. A journal and several clues have been found which lead Robles to believe that this is a vendetta against the family stemming back four hundred years. So basically what we have is a historical fiction type mystery thriller and a detective that is smart, honest and willing to go the distance to solve a case.
If there's one drawback to self published books is that sometimes you have to wait a great time frame between issues. Once I started reading the second issue however all of it came flooding back to me and that means the first issue really was good solid stuff and stuck with me. Or I have a freakishly good memory but I've decided it's the former. On the positive side I have to say that the characterization, writing and story advancement seem to have gotten stronger with the second issue. Always nice to see growth in someone and Paul seems to be doing a marvelous job with this and I hope that as it continues that we don't have to wait as long between issues.
I really do like the supporting cast around Robles, Dr. Adam Markusson for example, the medical examiner in the coroner's office where this issue opens and he gets his first lead of the day plays out a lot like you'd see in some kind of one hour primetime detective show. Following up on the clues we see Robles put together bits and pieces in his mind and where he goes with it is kind of fascinating. I like that he doesn't think inside the box and that outside is usually his comfort zone because that means that he's able to put pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle where you don't really have a whole picture you just have a couple pieces here and there to work with.
Since most of the family history that we're learning happened when the British were overtaxing and the colonies were rebelling it's all very much written in a biased or one-sided kind of way. So that there's no impartial account of what may or may not have actually happened. But what we do see is a family split by their thinking and a desire for revenge. So who would wait four hundred years to enact this kind of revenge well that's what Robles needs to find out and I'm hoping in some way shape or form that the supernatural comes into play here because that would send me to the moon. Chances are however it's just one of the family members using the story and the background to gain control of some vast fortune.
So far two things are clearly evident from the way Paul is telling the story. 1, is that this mystery he's created is actually kind of fascinating and not one that is able to be immediately figured out and 2, that he's having one hell of a good time with it. Really the pacing of the story is incredibly good, the way that we got revelations or we learn about the family and how it all ties together while sometimes is left open ended is still interesting to see.
I'm seeing a lot more of this watercolor style artwork in comic books these days and what Renee seems to be doing here its pretty on par with everything else I'm saying in the industry. So that means it's got good page and panel layouts, nice attention to detail when it's necessary but the overall effect is that it there's a nice sense of mystery going on. Also I really like the differential when we see the past and the colonial time outfits compared to the suits and modern day dress.
Familiar yet different, formulaic yet unique this book has a lot of things you'll find comfortable and that will definitely stand out. This is one of those examples of why I love self published books it's really something that ignites the love for the industry.