Review: The Devil and the Detective #1
Writer and Artist: JJ Hernandez
Letters: Lucas Gattoni
Publisher: Kaliedscope Fly Comics
Firstly, any book with the line, ‘Break out the emergency vodka,’ has got to have something going on and it would be fair to say that this indie title has set out its stall from the outset. The work of JJ Hernandez, the plot revolves around the interesting premise of Satan himself requiring the help of a private investigator in order to find out who killed God. This may all sound like a bridge too far, but consider the fact that all Godly concepts are a leap of faith in the first place, and you might realise the idea isn’t so far featched! The detective in question is John Freemont, a psychic detective, who has, in the past, worked with the local PD to solve cases. In other words, he’s the real deal, which is the reason Beelzebub collared him in the first place. Add to the mix a nervy apprentice of Freemont, as well as a grotesque hell-spawn underling, and you’ve got the next best thing to a spiritual A-Team, ready to get the job done. So what should you expect?
The book is a pacy little thing with dialogue designed to fill the gaps quickly and get to the point. Hernandez has established each individual character quickly and this makes the flow of the book smooth. We don’t get bogged down in beefy backstories here when a short line or two of information, all completed with more than a pinch of humour, does the trick. The action spills out of hell and onto the mean streets of Boston quicker than you can say, ‘My, what a scaly tail,’ and the dysfunctional team set about finding the killer. Throughout, the character depictions are a little cliched but this doesn’t worsen the read; if anything, the book slips into its genre and wears it like a favourite smoking jacket. That said, the devil is quite nice, maybe a little too nice, but makes up for this with some crafty, devilish mind tricks and some awesome explosive fire and brimstone effects. You can never have enough fire and brimstone, in my opinion.
The artwork is raw and punky with fantastic pencilling work on Hell, in particular. The focus isn’t on detail so much as simplicity. I know that simplicity is hard to achieve and it’s true that there is fine line between this and too plain. This book feels like the former and panels are often rammed with block blackness and shading for effect. The thing I’m most impressed with, is the facial work. Where you could argue that the characters’ features are too simple, I think that Hernandez has added personality without the pressures of over-detail. It’s simple but really works. Facial expressions aren’t an issue with the ending as we are left with a muttering, shadowy figure which in turn leaves us guessing at the events of the next issue.
Overall, if you’re a fan of indie books and raw indie style, buy this. It’s a far cry from the overly safe, overly stylised titles that usually fill the bookshelves. It’s funny and is quite charming really, which is bizarre as it revolves around The Lord of Darkness himself. Maybe he’s just misunderstood after all.
Thank you for reading our review of The Devil and the Detective #1. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun Sharma
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