Image Comics 2016
Written by B. Clay Moore
Illustrated & lettered by Jacob Wyatt
Byrd is a former stateside Detective who shot his younger brother to death (for as yet unknown reasons), and washed up in Honolulu, where his wartime buddy, Detective Mo Kalama, helps him find the occasional case to work in order to make a little extra cash. Unfortunately, the living embodiment of Hawaiian myths and folklore often get in the way of solving said cases. Kahimi is a former waitress who’s taken on the task of assisting Byrd in running what there is of his business, after Byrd helped solve the murder of her sister, by (drowned) Bishop Masaki.
Chris Duque is an FBI Agent who’s recently served Byrd with a subpoena from The House of Un-American Activities Committee. Anthony Antonio (“the Thinker”) is a former mob consigliere who now runs a gift shop in Honolulu, and may or may not be involved in running the crime rackets left behind in the wake of Masaki’s death.
Last issue we met Byrd’s other brother, Mike, who has booked a flight to Hawaii to track down trumpet player Tread Lightly for a Kansas Mobster.
I’m not quite sure what it is about this that mixes the likes of a crime noir with Magnum PI, the interiors evoke that for me more, that actually works but it certainly does. I mean Byrd is who he is, unapologetically and that’s fantastic and it leads him into a fair amount of trouble and disdain from others. Part of his charm and appeal as far as i’m concerned.
I do like the way the cast is focused on, that it’s not all about Byrd even if it’s his series. From seeing Byrd confront Duque to seeing what Detective Kalama finds well yeah we get to see the story unfold in way that involve all these characters and have yet to cross certain paths tying them together. I know it’s going to happen but in the meantime it’s interesting to see how this is going down. As if someone is pulling strings to make sure events unfold with certain players at the helm.
Also seeing Ben running to his friends to report on what Detective Kalama is doing only to encounter something he’s not prepared for well that just deepens the mystery doesn’t it. Actually the characterization all around is pretty solid and entertaining. I mean the banter between Duque and Kalama is golden stuff. Also that Duque seems to want to nail something on Byrd, seeming just because, then with Tread at the bar talking to Byrd you really get a great sense of who these people are. Dialogue is a wonderful tool and Moore definitely knows how to do it well.
At first I wasn’t sure I like Jacob’s work, yeah i’m a sucker for traditional, highly detailed art with crisp clean lines. Still what he’s doing here has definitely won me over. His eye for storytelling is strong as his use of pages and panels demonstrate. He really can evoke a wide range of emotions with what he brings and the colouring is dynamite! This is definitely the kind of story where he gets to shine and impress and he’s most certainly doing that.
There’s something dark yet fun about what’s happening here and you don’t often get to mix the two together with these kinds of results. So if you want some old school noir style storytelling with bright vibrant alive interior artwork this is what you should be reading.