Written by: Chip Zdarsky, Art and cover by: Jacob Phillips.
Easton Newburn, ex-police officer with a hardened approach to his cases, now works for the Mafia families as an independent private eye. He takes no side, he investigating the crimes that the police force don’t want to touch. With being the middleman to many crime families though, is he in over his head?
Someone has decided to start a fire in a warehouse belonging to the Triads. They suspect the Albanos, who claim to have had nothing to do with it. Newburn is the only one who can get between the Mafia and find out what happened, but tensions are high after a charred body is found in the remains. Meanwhile, while Newburn’s showing Emily the ropes, he gives her an offer so good that she couldn’t possibly refuse it. Or is the price of the job too high?
This series was a bit of a shock to me, not because I thought it would be bad, no, with the talent working on it, how could that be possible. More because I had not heard of it. Spending so much time recently with crime dramas, I thought I had my finger on the pulse of what’s to come. So to have this book drop on me and be so good, I was shocked.
So first I want to talk about the writing from Chip Zdarsky. We are only 2 issues in, so it’s still difficult to say exactly what the good and bad aspects are of the series as it’s still finding its feet a bit. Although I love the hardened detective stories and I like the idea of Newburn being different, as he’s the go-to man for the Mafia. This is a great angle and could make for some dramatic and exhilarating books later on. One quote that could be seen as foreshadowing is said by someone Emily interviews to find out more about Newburn, whether she should take the job: “Doing what he does, every friend he makes is an enemy”. This feels like such a truly poetic statement and it adds gravitas to the situation he’s in; is he in over his head? Does he need a partner to tell him if he ever crosses the line? This is what makes him different to other hard-arsed detectives. The others have the law to deal with if they go outside the lines. Whereas Newburn has the lawless criminals who might not consider him untouchable forever.
Another aspect that makes this book stand out to any others is the use of Emily’s diary, spread out through the books. This gives us an insight into what she’s thinking. This is an interesting way of doing things but personally I would prefer to have more visuals and thought bubbles so we can take in the amazing artwork as we get into her head.
When it comes to the artwork. Jacob Phillips has been developing a name for himself when it comes to more traditional pastel faded colours that are reminiscent of old style books. It seems that every project he works on, his art style matches perfectly. The classic look is perfectly reflective of our main protagonist and how rough around the edges he is. One thing that made me laugh was that on the first page, one of the people being interviewed bears a striking resemblance to Joe Bob from That Texas Blood, so that begs the question: are they in the same universe ? Could we even see a crossover of no-nonsense detectives who have seen it all? That’s more likely reading far too far into it, but it does make for fun daydreaming.
Newburn issue 2 will be released from Image Comics on 15th December from your Local Comic Shop and also available digitally from comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.