Newburn #3 COMIC REVIEW: the bodies are piling up as the pressure mounts on Newburn

Written by: Chip Zdarsky and Nadia Shammas, Art by: Jacob Phillips and Ziyed Yusuf Ayoub, 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 while investigating the crimes that the police don’t want to touch. As the middle man to many crime families though, is he in over his head?

Someone is killing members of all the gangs. Each of the heads convene at their neutral site, the Black Castle, where none are happy with Newburn. They give him a week, and offer men to help, as he’s been ineffectual. He’s running out of time and the families are running out of patience.

It’s been more than 3 months since we were last with the hardened Private investigator. These stories just keep getting better and better by writer Chip Zdarsky. Where the last two issues were about individual cases, this issue we have a case that’s tied into both of them in a very interesting and clever way. The detective work is fun to observe and it’s clear that Zdarsky is having a lot of fun with the character. The problems I have with this book come from me being personally spoilt by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips with their Reckless run and the That Texas Blood run of Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips . Both of these books have very similar qualities to Newburn; the only difference is that both the aforementioned books are looking at long form storytelling. Reckless are novels of a few hundred pages, and That Texas Blood are arc long stories. Whereas this series has been following the lines of the standard police procedural. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just frustrating when a case is solved within 20 pages and I feel like a character as complex as Newburn could benefit from having longer form cases, as he’s in a unique position.

Artistically, it’s exactly what I would expect from Jacob Phillips. The panels are more traditional, the art style is very pulpy, and it’s packed with character. I’m a big fan of Jacob's artwork, but there’s one thing that’s niggling at me with this series. The uses of the colours and the panels are very reminiscent of the Reckless books. I know that Jacob has his own individual style, but this is very close to his Dad Sean's. Although I can’t say a negative thing about the artwork itself as it’s stunning, I do think that having this so close to that of his Dad could go against him as it may draw comparisons.

Overall, it’s still an enjoyable series with great writing and some fantastic art. As you can see, the one thing that’s holding it back would be its comparisons to others that are similar to it. Which wouldn’t be an issue if they weren’t all being released around the same time. It’s also a personal thing for me that I grew up on police procedural dramas, which do have a villain of the week but often have an overarching story running through each season. We are now three issues into the first arc, and I’ve yet to see any continuing story to tie them together; the only thing tying them was a throwaway line about the murders being linked to the last issue. This might seem overly harsh for what is a good book, but my criticism is because there’s so much potential here, and it’s being produced by a creative team who are excelling on other books, and yet here there doesn’t seem to be anything unique.

Newburn Issue 3 was released by Image Comics on 2nd February from your Local Comic Shop as well as 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.

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