"Weird Detective #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Guiu Vilanova
Colored by Mauricio Wallace
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 20th, 2016
It's one thing to turn a corner on a Manhattan sidewalk and see assorted garbage, a dead rat, or a pair of underpants. It's quite another to see an empty skin of what was once a human being. That's what is turning up thanks to the Juice Box Killer, a strange murderer that's been sucking out the insides of his victims. Only Detective Sebastian Greene knows that this is no mere man, but instead a monster of Lovecraftian proportions. Being that he's a supernatural creature as well, he's got to stop this beast once and for all, but without drawing too much attention to himself.
This comic is called Weird Detective and this issue delivers on that title in spades. Within the first few pages, you see how weird Greene can be and it's not just because he's not human. Greene possesses a number of additional senses that have helped him be a stellar albeit unusual detective of late. One of them is Prubika, aka mind reading. It's done the same way a blind man reads Braille. Think about that for a minute. Got it? So how does Greene touch a man's mind? With his tongue! It's so damn creepy, especially as his eyes are bugging out while he does it. Despite his strange methods, the man gets results.
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As unsettling as a tongue to the brain can be, the Juice Box Killer's victims are much more so. They're just shriveled husks in the vague shape of a person. You could roll them up and put them in a tube. Artist Guiu Vilanova really delivers the horror in these panels. It's chilling to think that these were once people and are now nothing more than skin with clothes, wrinkled up and discarded. There's a shot where a child stumbles upon the latest victim inside a dry fountain. He innocently looks up, holding a stick with a deflated arm hanging limply off it. That's right up there with one of the creepiest panels I've seen all year.
Greene is an intriguing character. He struggles with doing the right thing at all costs while also trying to stay off of everyone's radar. If this was a super hero comic, he would just put on a mask and fight crime. Instead, he's working within the law and using his unique talents to tackle the supernatural elements in the area, of which there are many. We get a glimpse of his darkest fears in this issue and see how he really sweats them. We also see how out of touch he can be with basic English colloquialisms that we take for granted, but don't make any sense to an outsider. It's easy to feel a little sorry for the guy.
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Vilanova and colorist Mauricio Wallace made a hellua cover for this issue too, featuring Greene’s arms spread, while a shot of his new partner is superimposed over it, tentacles squirming out of her mouth as she looks on in terror. The pair also put together a gorgeous final-page spread that is as breathtaking as it is scary.
Weird Detective is shaping up to be a solid police procedural show surrounded by horrifying monsters. This isn't a supernatural detective-type book. It's more of a crime comic that happens to deal with lizard monsters and other assorted things that go bump in the night. I am curious as to how the second half of this type of Law & Order would work out.