Greetings and welcome once again to the Comic Roundup, where you can smoke em’ if you got em’, the beer flows like wine and it’s always new comic day. This week I check out Mumbai Confidential from the fine folks at Archaia, the arrival of a new creative team on Suicide Squad and the latest from the mind of John Byrne, Doomsday.1.
Mumbai Confidential Book 1: Good Cop, Bad Cop
By Saurav Mohapatra and Vivek Shinde
I try not to throw the word “classic” around that much when I write my comic book reviews. Who can know what will stand the test of time and become a book that people will look back on and consider a defining work in graphic literature?
But this once, I have to make an exception.
Mumbai Confidential is flat out brilliant, an instant classic that when people want to read a perfect example of noir storytelling in comics, this is the book they will look for.
Taking place in India during the time of the Encounter Squads, groups of rouge cops who end up becoming the criminals they are trying to eliminate, it’s a story that grabs you from page one and just doesn’t let go. The characters Mohapatra has created are multidimensional, fully realized people whom you quickly become very invested in, even with all their faults. The artwork by Shinde is gritty, dark and full of shadow, just like the story itself, but still beautiful in it’s own way. In fact, the writing and art complement each other so perfectly that you could almost believe they were done by the same person, not two individuals.
The story Mohapatra and Shinde have created is compelling, dark, emotional and one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. If you ever want to see what can be done with noir in comics, look no further; Mumbai Confidential is a classic in every sense of the word.
Suicide Squad #20
By Ales Kot and Patrick Zircher
One of the titles I was most excited for in the New 52, I ended up dropping Suicide Squad for some reason around issue #6. I don’t think it had anything about the comic itself per se, but had more to do with a lack of interest in Harley Quinn, who was quickly becoming the focus of the book. In any event, this month sees the debut of new creative team Ales Kot and Patrick Zircher and I figured there was no better time to give the Squad a second chance.
In what amounts to a “get to know the cast” issue, we get the lowdown on the various members of the Squad, what makes them tick and just how messed up Amanda Waller really is. It’s a nice intro for new or lapsed readers such as myself, although I would think it would be a bit tedious for regular readers. As such, Kot seems to have a good handle on the cast of the Suicide Squad and their truly unique characterizations. The real joy here was seeing Zircher back on a mainstream book again. Fresh off Shadowman for Valiant, his work here is excellent as usual and still has that distinctive style that is all his own.
Also, be prepared for a jaw dropping last page that you will not see coming. It made what would have normally been a so-so issue into one that will make you stand up and take notice of the direction the new creative team is taking the Suicide Squad in. I know I’m along for the ride.
Doomsday.1 #1 (of 4)
By John Byrne
I really don’t know why I have such a weakness for John Byrne comics. It must have something to do with the fact he was the first superstar artist I remember following from title to title and the old school way he approaches making comic books. This month he debuts his newest miniseries from IDW, a re-imagining of some of his earliest comic book work, Doomsday.1
In reality, Doomsday.1 is a retelling of Doomsday + 1, an apocalyptic disaster story where a handful of survivors return to Earth from space after the end of the world. Byrne is in his usual fine form here, with crisp artwork that has tons of detail and just as many panels. The writing has a definite somber tone, as various people try to figure out how to outwit the end of everything and you can see shades of Armageddon, Deep Impact and even The Walking Dead in the story. My only real complaint is that I have never seen anyone who uses as many words per page as Byrne. He regularly uses 10 words to describe something that could be done in half as much. It makes for a dense comic that doesn’t really need to be as wordy as it is.
For Byrne fans, Doomsday.1 will be another fun and enjoyable read. If you aren’t a Byrne fan, this is easily one of his most accessible works in a long time and worth checking out. It’s a premise that could go one for much longer than 4 issues and I for one hope it does.