By: Alan Moore (writer), Jacen Burrows (art) & Juanmar (colors)
The Story: Two FBI agents tracking a serial killer enlist the aid of an institutionalized killer who had the same M.O.
What’s Good: It’s an Alan Moore written comic, so this comic has a much higher certainty of “not sucking” than just about any other comic book you can grab off the shelf. At worst, you’re going to get something like Tom Strong and at best, you could get something like Promethea or Watchmen. So, I’ll admit to being a little baffled in a few weeks when I’ll see from the sales charts that this only sold ~5K issues or so.
Moore does a very fine job of establishing his story in this first issue. There’s no screwing around, no forays into the meaning of life/religion/the universe… None of that stuff. He just lays out the story. Two FBI agents (including a hot female agent who is a recovering sex addict) are tracking a serial killer who doesn’t just kill folks…. He cuts off their arms and heads and “carves them like tulips”. It is heavily implied that this carving isn’t just figurative… The guy is actually making something like an ice sculpture, but one of the very nice things is that they do not show us anything. A lot of lesser creators would have just jumped into showing the gore, but here it is implied and I appreciate that.
Beyond a well established central pair of characters, I also appreciate that this comic has some other demonic/mystical stuff going on. You could probably guess that from the title (i.e. it isn’t called “Crime Alley” or anything like that). Again, none of this is overt, but it is heavily hinted at and I’m very eager to see how it plays out.
Burrows’ art is very effective at telling the story. There is nothing flashy about the art (a la Promethea), but this story doesn’t call for that sort of thing at all.
What’s Not So Good: Well, it is no Watchmen. Seriously, my biggest complaint about this first issue is that I expected to like it more than I did. I like the writing, I like the art, I like the set-up, I like the genre……but all those “likes” do not add up to “love”. There was nothing in this first issue that was setting me on fire, but there was certainly nothing wrong with it either. It’s just a matter of expectation.
Conclusion: If you contain your expectations, this is a very good horror/crime comic. Just cover up the place where it says “Alan Moore” on the cover and you’ll probably have lower expectations and enjoy it more.
– Dean Stell