The Private Eye #1
Written by: Brian K. Vaughn
Art by: Marcos Martin
I had a schedule outlined for myself for upcoming reviews, I was going to write. I even had an idea for an opinion piece and was working on that, when I stopped to take a breather and decided to download Marcos Martin’s and Brian K. Vaughn’s ‘The Private Eye’ and it threw my entire schedule out of whack because I had to write about it, I had to gush about it.
I know it’s getting a lot of media attention already so I’m not going to go too heavily into the ‘ooh, it’s an experiment, pay what you like….etc.’ that often gets more attention than it should for an art project, I’m going to be terribly unoriginal and talk about the story and the art so:
High concepts are often used in creator owned work, particularly sci-fi futuristic stories and this one is no different. It takes a look at the emphasis and ruthlessness of the media and places them in the role of judge and jury, and paparazzi as the vigilantes/underground detectives in a world where the internet has seeped into real life and everything you do can be recorded and released digitally. This story is at it’s heart a noir/private detective/ The Big Sleep-esque style story (think Blade Runner) but with a modern twist that looks at the nature of Social media and it’s impact on society as a whole. In essence, the outline and beats of this issue is nothing you haven’t seen before…
… but the characters!
Vaughn’s use of characters to illustrate the story and what’s going on is beautiful! His first image is of a woman, like all great noir stories. After that, he introduces you gradually to the people who are going to be the major players, giving you small hints at their characters, but each one still has a unique voice and is memorable. He even introduces a comic relief character in the form of a tattoo-clad, grumpy granddad who huddles over his i-phone and calls his grandson ‘dude’- he’s also nicely utilised to provide some back story into this new future.
And wow, the art on this is pretty! Marcos Martin clearly has put a huge amount of thought into this comic as even the panelling is different from mainstream comics. The plan on this comic was to release it digitally from the start, so Martin clearly knew that people would be reading it on wide-screen laptops and ipads so each page is a wide-screen horizontal panel so you’re getting 32 double page spreads.
Each page is packed full of Martin’s detailing and unique, subtle expressions and the way he makes your eye follow the page is so gorgeous. His art style is very 50’s influenced so the noir element of the story suits the style and you can tell that Vaughn is writing to Martin’s strengths.
Overall, this first issue runs out of the gate fast and hard and gives the reader a lot of information quickly, but not without neglecting story. It pulls the reader in with the classic elements of noir/hard-boiled adventure and keeps them intrigued with character and the futuristic premise. I really hope people buy this and it spurs Vaughn and Martin to tell the full 10-part epic they’ve planned.
Rating: 10/10 -it really is that great!