“WEIRD DETECTIVE #1” (Comic Book Review)Book and Comic Reviews,Books/Art/Culture,News Svetlana Fedotov
Solving supernatural mysteries requires a very specific set of skills, the most preferred being a dictionary-like knowledge of the occult, a taste for cheap whiskey, and a hefty dose of self-loathing from continuously watching your loved ones being ripped apart by the denizens of Hell. Luckily for us, WEIRD DETECTIVE manages avoid all those tropes, instead creating a detective who is just as strange as the cases he seems to solve. Dark Horse’s newest comic is a refreshing addition to the heavily saturated genre of horror noir while harking back to that WEIRD TALES vibe that turned many a reader into a raving maniac howling from the abyss.
WEIRD DETECTIVE is narrated by its protagonist and self-admitted man of 16 human senses, Detective Sebastian Greene. Always being a bit of an oddball, Greene is sent to the scene of a murder at the bottom of a public pool, except there is no body, only the sack of human skin lacking all internal organs and skeletal system. During the investigation, he meets his new partner, Detective Fayez, and together they go off to solve this seemingly impossible murder. With nothing but a perverted janitors’ word to go on, they end the day on a low note before waking up to the news of a second murder (which we get to see in all its gory details). This one though involves two warring crime families and one of them just happens to wield the power of the Old Ones. Luckily for Detective Greene, that’s exactly the signal he’s been looking for to get home, but unluckily for humanity, it’s the beginning of the end.
WEIRD DETECTIVE is very fun, very thought out read. The horror angle is very well handled, especially with something as popular as Lovecraftian mythos. It doesn’t overshadow the story with this huge Old Ones vibe but instead is spread out tastefully through the comic, giving the reader enough info that something just isn’t right. From Greene’s odd behavior to the murders themselves- seriously, you could sell the comic on the second murder alone-, the otherworldly angle is worked in organically. In fact, everything about the comic comes off as very natural. All the characters have their own personalities and their back-and-forth banter is well handled. It’s interesting to watch these characters exist outside of basic interaction with other people, especially Greene, who spends his time to talking to cats and stomping around homeless camps.
The writer, Fred Van Lente, has had a lot of experience writing the strange and noir, including COWBOYS AND ALIENS, MARVEL ZOMBIES, and X-MEN NOIR, so it’s no surprise that he has managed to add another solid work under his belt. He’s got a solid grasp of the occult that he manages to transfer onto the paper but doesn’t let it outshine the basics such as character development and a good plot. The artist Guiu Vilanova has also spent an inordinate amount of time illustrating horror and is an excellent addition partner to Van Lente’s work. His work is very clean and experienced, something that is commonly taken for granted in horror comics. He doesn’t skimp on the details and with the oversize first issue, hitting shelves on June 15th, Vilanova offers more bang for your buck.