"Weird Detective #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Guiu Vilanova
Colored by Mauricio Wallace & Josan Gonzalez
2016, 48 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 15th, 2016
Detective Sebastian Greene is not the kind of cop you'd see on Law & Order. He's...a little off. His eccentricities are explained away by his Canadian heritage. That doesn't explain how he's suddenly a Sherlock Holmes-level detective, able to crack cases at an alarming rate. There's definitely something going on behind those cold eyes, and it's something otherworldly. See, Greene's not even human. He's a monster.
This oversized first issue of Weird Detective starts out a little slow, getting you acquainted with Greene and his special abilities. He has a number of other senses that have aided him in his detective work. These appear on the page like a little pop-up notification, not unlike the moves used in Archer & Armstrong, another title written by Fred Van Lente. This is a nice effect and helps explain just what the heck is going on when Greene does something like stick his arm through a wall to stop a suspect from running away.
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The real horror of Weird Detective begins about halfway through the issue. It takes such a sudden jump from quirky to abject terror that it's almost jarring. You turn the page and are unexpectedly faced with something so horrifying that it will have you second guessing a normal everyday activity. Artist Guiu Vilanova scared the crap out of me here. (When you read the comic, that will become a pun. Wakka Wakka!) What makes this even scarier is that you only get two real glimpses at it. The true aftermath is left to your imagination, but you see how another character reacts to it.
This is not the last frightening moment of Weird Detective by a longshot. Van Lente delivers a brilliant pace to the story, giving you a few pages to catch your breath before diving into horror-town again. The book is balanced between character development and crazy, Lovecraftian level monsters. You quickly get the lay of the land and how each of the cast members fit into things before leaving with a shocking cliffhanger ending.
Speaking of Lovecraft, there's a whole lot of Elder God action at work here. Vilanova's artwork illustrates the madness-inducing monsters that the horror icon created all those years ago. These are creatures that just shouldn't exist. Your mind tries to make sense of them, but it just can't. There are all these tentacles and teeth. The whole thing is rather unsettling, which is another word for awesome when it comes to a horror comic.
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The colors from Mauricio Wallace & Josan Gonzalez give Weird Detective a bit of a noir feel. That works well with the detective angle. It's almost like a darker, supernatural version of the procedural TV shows. I particularly like how the shade of the artwork changes when Greene uses his powers. Early on, he's looking at his new partner's memories and sees everything in a purplish hue. It's a nice effect.
Weird Detective mixes noir level detective drama and terrifying horror with a bit of humor thrown in to sweeten the pot. This issue gives you everything you need to know to immerse yourself in the series and at a bargain price for all the content you get in this oversized edition. Greene is a strange character that definitely lives up to the name of the book. He's one that I'm interested in following and finding out more about in future chapters.
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