Black Crown/IDW Publishing 2018
Written by David Barnett
Illustrated by Martin Simmonds
With Flatting by Dee Cunnifffe
Teenage geek Fergie Ferguson and his BF Sid, the ghost of a punk rocker who only Fergie can see or hear, are on the lam for a murder they didn’t exactly commit. They’ve made it to London but on their tail are the police, the quirky paranormal investigation agency the Department of Extra-Usual Affairs, and some really freaky magpie monsters, so there’s not (much) time for sightseeing. While Fergie tracks down his long-absent father to get answers about his powerful new “abilities” (Sid calls them “psychic grenades”), DfEUA’s old-school mod super spy Dorothy Culpepper and her sensible young partner Asif Baig uncover evidence that links Fergie to the underworld. Fergie’s mum Julie and his not-a-girlfriend Natalie also join forces to save Fergie from life in prison… but with a psychopathic serial killer showing an interest, everybody might soon be running out of time. How does any of this connect to a visually searing three-chord apocalypse?
Lets get right down to business shall we? The opening here is bloody marvellous as we see what Bobby Von Dernbach is up to. Doing the Lord’s work he says, for the greater good. Now I am not up to snuff about his mission but as he’s a new player if I am not mistaken and well while it’s always good to have fans sometimes it comes at a price no one really wants to pay. Still if what we see of him is any indication I am all for him sticking around a while. Meaning that he doesn’t get killed before this arc is over. I wonder if there is a law or something about too many unique, interesting and killer characters in one book?
So Sid and Fergie oh their entrance made me laugh like no ones business. That guy only offered him a tenner yeah I'd be insulted. What I really about that discussion though is how normal it seems and the nonchalant way they went that. While we know whom he fancies I wonder if he would’ve if the price were right—either of them. This is Jolly Old and while that doesn’t really mean much it is a little more progressive in thinking along those terms. Actually this does bring me to the characterisation in this book. This is seriously some hella good writing, the way the book is structured and the dialogue and actions that flesh the characterisation is nearly flawless. This is strong, the kind of strength that pulls you in with a deceivingly strong grip and doesn’t let you go.
The interior artwork here is utterly sensational. Not only am impressed by the utilisation of the linework to create really nice attention to detail but the colour work is out of this world. From Sid and his ghostly form to the way the Union Jack is seen in the background all of these are wow factors. The creativity and imagination on display within these pages blows me away and then to see Natalie undergo her transformation the way we do is stunning! So is the new look Fergie gets here. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off a superb eye for storytelling. While I wish the way backgrounds were utilised was stronger, see more use of them, there are times, like when we meet Rose, where everything can be forgiven.
If I am to be bluntly honest I hope Fergie never finds his father. After that all I can see is things going downhill and winding up the whole affair. To see him travelling with Sid and the emergence of his powers and why Sid’s even attached to him is where the fun’s at! Yes answers would be nice and those fools from their supernatural division of MI5 (mhmm) well I do believe they will always be a few steps behind from the way things look and I am okay with that.
Everything about this book screams at the reader. There is no looking away, no rubbernecking and no escape from just how damn good this book is.