American Gothic Press 2018
Written by Dagen Walker & Joseph Ettinger
Illustrated by Marc Rene
Coloured by Dennis Calero
Lettered by Jenn Pham
It's all in the blood: when Hanin's DNA is discovered at a crime scene, she reveals her secret to the precinct blood specialist and they go hunting across town for someone who may not exist. Meanwhile, Kevin and Jose have been given one last hit to test their loyalty to NICE, but the required medical exam to move up in the organization presents a roadblock that Kevin is not prepared for.
It is rather interesting to see because there is so much more to Hanin than meets the eye. Her scarring is extensive and much more than I would presume is a result of the job which begs the question what happened to her. She’s closed off more Trump is from the truth. What this level of mystery surrounding her really does is engage the readers in such a way that you create a version in your head of her childhood and what happened to her growing up. This issue just adds one piece to the puzzle as it simultaneously makes the larger picture harder to see. This is exceptional in my opinion because it really does show a level of mastery that sneaks up on you, grabs you by the scruff of your neck and never lets go.
The way that this book is structured is phenomenally well done. The ebb & flow created by the way information is revealed leading into the next segment and so on and so forth really makes an impact on the reader. I don’t want to say that this is cinematic in how I see it but it is very serialised television in my eyes. We get to see the key moments in each of the players lives that needs to stand out so that we can understand what is happening with them. Granted jobs are one thing but the overall story is so much more than the boys getting more work as cleaners or hit-men and the same goes for Hanin and her job. This is more about them and less about the work and I have to say that this blended to be that way is something I appreciate and I think is extremely well done.
Marc and Dennis work well together and create a very stylish look for the interior artwork. There is a nice mixture of smaller more delicate linework to go alongside the bolder stronger lines that really helps to create that attention to detail and draws the eye where it needs to go. I love seeing the faces and facial expressions here as they really do wonders with expressing emotions, feelings and adding to the characterisation. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a really sweet eye for storytelling. Now I like backgrounds, for me they add size and scope to the story as well as flesh out the moments and kind of bring this focus. I would like to see more of that here, doesn’t have to be every page, page 7 for example is stunning the way it is, but more would be nice. Goodness the colour work is absolutely delightful to see. I love the gradation, use of shading and how we see light sources utilised.
As a fan of the medium of comics I love the fact that there are companies like AGP out there. They don’t do a hell of a lot of books but what they do is always so professional. The writing is strong, dynamic and full of those wow factor moments that keep us entertained and coming back for more. Then there’s interiors which always manage to suit the story to a “T” and it makes it easy for me to say yeah AGP needs to find it’s way into my pile every time something comes out. You should have it in yours too if you consider yourself a fan of comics.