Sometimes we get books to review the day they are released. Other times we get them a few days before they hit your comic book store. And occasionally, we get a peek at comics way in advance of when they are scheduled to arrive. Blue Estate from Image Comics kicks off next month, but we’ve got your early review now, and all you have to do is take the jump.
BLUE ESTATE #1 (OF 12)
Story: Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev
Script: Andrew Osborne
Artists: Toby Cypress, Robert Valley, Nathan Fox and Viktor Kalvachev
Colorist: Viktor Kalvachev
Cover Artist: Viktor Kalvachev
Publisher: Image Comics
Previously in Blue Estate: Supercop Roy Devine captures a notorious serial killer and adopts the child of one of the killer’s victims as his own son. Roy Devine Jr. follows in his father’s footsteps (sort of) as a private investigator in L.A. While Roy Jr. was growing up, Bruce Maddox was busy being Hollywood’s biggest action star of the 90s, but his star is fading fast…
36 HOURS, OR SEVERAL YEARS EARLIER
Blue Estate kicks off by introducing us to Roy Devine Jr. P.I. in his office watching Law and Order on his Wii, when a femme fatale burst in, calls him an ‘effing idiot’, and questions his competence. We learn her name is Rachel Maddox and then immediately flash back 36 hours to Rachel with slightly longer hair, and drawn by a different artist. We are, at this point, introduced to a concept the creators call ‘style shifting’, where the four different artists on the title work from scene to scene to evoke different moods, situations and timeframes.
Using this device we bounce through time space and dimension (and art) and we quickly meet Rachel’s husband, Bruce Maddox, the now washed up action star, his producer from the Russian mob, an Italian Mafioso and Roy Devine Sr.’s nemesis, as well as Roy Sr. himself, who is still on the job with the L.A.P.D. Major Crimes Unit. We also meet a couple of mysterious duffel bags and a suitcase full of cash which appear to be integral parts of the story. The majority of the issue is setup and introduction of what appears to be a labyrinth of character connections and subplots.
The story seems designed to evoke films like Pulp Fiction or The Usual Suspects with its non-linear approach and large, intertwining cast of characters. The art and character designs are strong, with each character possessing distinct features making them easily identifiable from artist to artist. I don’t know yet if the novel concept of style shifting works completely for me, and how it will carry across 12 issues. It was sometimes difficult to tell when an event was happening, but you could always tell whom it was happening to. As the story unfolds the timelines and situations may well become clearer as the reader becomes more familiar with the artistic styles and color palettes of each distinct timeframe or situation. I enjoyed the art in Blue Estate, and really want to commend the coloring. It’s a painted style of coloring and very effectively creates the mood of a seedy, underhanded world filled with some pretty nasty characters.
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
This issue ends with a small cliffhanger and we don’t get much concrete information about these characters and their situation. I’m not sure who to root for and who to hate and that’s fine. In a story like this, all the good stuff will be revealed at the end. It’s a 12 issue crime series so I didn’t expect all to be revealed right away. The art styles are loose, but fit the established mood, complimenting some really great coloring.
Blue Estate #1 does a nice job of setting up some interesting situations, some nasty characters, and asking the right questions to interest me in issue #2. I give it 3 out of 5 Stars.
Blue Estate #1 arrives April 06, 2011.