Behemoth Entertainment 2020
Written by Federico Chemello & Maurizio Furini
Illustrated, Lettered & Designed by Alberto Massaggia
Presenting a new, monthly comic series based in the multi-million unit selling indie video game franchise, Hotline Miami! This oversized first-issue features an original spin-off story in the Hotline Miami universe told from the perspective of a new character, Chris, and his struggle to deal with a coming war, his tendency towards self-destruction, and the mysterious pseudo-patriots of 50 Blessings.
I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I got it blind, no information whatsoever about it beforehand and if you know me you know this is the way I love coming into a new series. Hell I don’t play video games so I had not heard of this until seeing it for the first time. I love that Miami in the 80’s has such a horrible reputation, it mean’s Miami Vice was a show that is believed right. Still there are a few elements in this that I find interesting and they stick out with you in different ways as well. For those who didn’t live through this period, I pity you and I'm envious of you, it is a somewhat fair representation thus far if you live in a twisted John Hughes film.
There is something about the way that this is being told which makes it endearing and quite honestly it just is extremely well structured. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented beautifully. Somehow some way they’ve to portray a month's passage in this issue and it is brilliantly shown that you have to double or even triple check your math on that. The character development that we see is great. I like we start off with the whole alright here’s where we're starting with them guess where they are gonna go from here. When we get to how this starts we see two friends, one of whom has a lot of money and while it isn’t confirmed we get a good suspicion as to why. This is not the same character whom we see in the opening and it is utterly brilliant to see the start of that transformation.
How we see the layering within the story and how those threads show us Chris’ life and how he lives it from multiple directions. We see him bored and left wanting but he’s not sure that even means or what he’s looking for to begin with. How everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow is really rather nice to see.
The interiors here are incredibly solid. The linework is fabulous and how we see the varying weights and even techniques being utilised to show how strong the detail is, well it’s really something. The faces are what impress me the most, they are among the hardest things to draw consistently so to see such strength in that here is impressive. I would like to see backgrounds utilised more because when we do see them they do their things extraordinarily well. They enhance the moments, bring us depth perception, a sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a solid eye for storytelling. The colour work is well rendered. I like how we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work.
Here’s my one beef, this looks nothing like Miami, let alone in the late 90’s. Where are the neon lights, where are the buildings with all the crazy colours? Most importantly did anyone research the clothing? Men in polo’s meh not good enough women in 80’s clothing that was something to see. I miss that because this feels generic to any city real or fictional with a body of water near it.
Behemoth is certainly making a name for themselves here. So far they’ve yet to disappoint me and the more of their books I read the more convinced I am that they never will. Solid interesting writing with lovely interiors make this far from your average (bear) book.