The Private Eye #1 Review
- Published on Thursday, 21 March 2013 04:14
- Written by Andrenn
It had been announced a while back that two big names in comics, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin, would be teaming up for a new series. But no one knew what. Until the other day, their new series, Private Eye, was not just announced, it also went live. Online. But not on Comixology or any other kind of digital site. It went live for download and was able to be purchased however you wanted to pay for it. Is this new digital series everything you would hope for from this creative team? Let's find out!
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Marcos Martin
Colorist: Muntsa Vicente
Story Rating: 8 Masks out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Masks out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Masks out of 10
Synopsis: In the future the internet is gone and now privacy is the big ticket item of the new world. Anyone can look like anything for the right price. Everyone hides their true identity by looking however they would like. And then there is PI. A paparazzi who goes to extreme lengths to uncover the truth about someone, in a world where the truth is what everyone wants to hide. A woman comes to PI looking for him to do a job for her that's surely going to sweep him up in a storm he can't hope to comprehend.
The Good: Private Eye #1 gives me just enough to make it a great first issue and leaves me wanting just a little bit more than we got. That isn't always a bad thing, of course. I was satisfied with it as a start but the way it ends has me excited as hell to see where it goes from there. Wanting just a little bit more of what we were teased. That on top of Martin's incredible artwork, its a great world-building first issue that introduces everything nicely and gets you pumped for what it does in this new world it establishes for us.
The real star of this issue is Martin's artwork. For as great a job as BKV does, none of this would work if not for the incredible work Martin put into this comic. This future world comes alive before our vary eyes. Flourishing and growing into a real, fantastic place that instantly leaves an impact on the reader. My favorite page being a gorgeous spread early on just showing the huge city in the background. Our main character highlighted by the dark pink sky behind him and surrounded by futuristic buildings that, while familiar, still look unique enough to properly build this new world.
I do not get to talk about world-building as much as I'd like. Because most of the comics I talk about are already established by the time I review them. Even Saga, if I were to talk about it by now, with the most recent issue the world-building aspect is done. And many first issues focus more on the characters than the world around them. BKV builds the characters up nicely of course but he does so while equally developing their entire world around them.
BKV and Martin really join together perfectly to pull this off. The writing pulls it off with the way characters talk about the way things were and the way they hint about how different things are. We only get real glimpses at how strange this new world is through the dialogue. Martin then takes that and with his strong attention to detail on the design he creates a lavish painting of this future that helps ground it and make it all the more believable for us readers, while still keeping the strange sense that a futuristic setting should have.
From here our premise is driven home with excellent dialogue. The characters make it clear that everything is different now. And the idea of everything we ever wrote or looked up online exposing us totally? That's a terrifying idea for most folks. We like the privacy our computers give. A little box that lets us look up anything or talk to anyone. The idea of that all totally exposed and how it could make society change and recoil is fascinating.
We see everyone, or at least most people, wear fantastic costumes and look like something out of an RPG. Playing the role of fish-man, cat-person, unbelievable beauty, etc. And then there's a man who shatters that whole system of hiding your true self. Who's entire business is built on uncovering the truth of you and shining a spotlight on it. It makes PI the perfect main character to live in opposition to how this society works.
There's also a nice moment where we get some exposition that both doesn't feel forced and is a nice character moment for someone connected to PI. So while it is, at its core, a simple exposition moment to tell us why the world is this way, BKV still makes it work. It also introduces a really interesting new character. Someone who isn't used to this super-hidden-identity world and is from our generation. Its a really interesting clash and I'd like to see where BKV takes this character in future issues. Or at least shows how they interact with this strange future society.
The ending teaser for what comes next definitely gets things going and leaves the reader wanting more. While most of the issue was just introducing us to the premise, this is where things really heat up and we get the reason for our story. Its clear PI is about to get dragged into something big and something nasty and we get just enough of a hint to get expectations high for where we go from here.
Martin further succeeds at making the movement of this story perfectly paced. The highlight of the issue is the opening scene with PI snapping some pictures of someone then a quick chase scene through the city. Its only a few pages, but the way the panels are laid out and how Martin moves things, you can see it moving in your head, like animation. His panel lay outs in this issue are incredibly well placed. Both in the action scene and during dialogue, everything looks just right the way its put together.
The Bad: If you are not big on Sci Fi and you do not enjoy being dropped into a futuristic world where most of what is established is through hints and dialogue and you do not get tons of definite answers then Private Eye may not be for you. But BKV and Martin work hard to establish their world nicely so, hopefully, you will not feel too lost when you start this series.
Overall: Private Eye #1 succeeds where every first issue should. It builds the world enough to make it feel believable and gets you excited to see more of it. Then it gives us an interesting main character with a strong motivation for being the way he is in this world. It also teases us enough near the end to show us there is a much bigger story about to unfold and that you'll want to see what happens next in the series.
Right now you can buy it for download HERE and pay whatever you feel is best. I paid 99 cents but its worth far more than that and I will be paying more for the future issues. Do not miss out on one of the best new digital comics out there and getting a chance to actually own it instead of renting it like on Comixology. This is a comic everyone is going to be talking about in the near future and you should definitely get in on it now to see what all the fuss is about.
Andrenn got back into comics years ago with a random issue of Spawn. From there he was hooked and a couple years later he had to share his thoughts with the world at his old blog New Age Comics with Andrenn. Now a huge Image fan and a horror geek, Andrenn writes for the Comic Book Revolution. You can follow Andrenn's ramblings and thoughts from the links below.