Harry Dresden is back, and even with a war brewing between the red and the white, there are still paranormal crimes that need investigating. The Dresden Files: Down Town #1 is out now!
THE DRESDEN FILES: DOWN TOWN #1
Writer: Jim Butcher and Mark Powers
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Letterer: Bill Tortolini
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment,
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in The Dresden Files: There is a war going on between the Red Court of Vampires and the White Council. Harry is caught in the middle, and the fact that he has taken on an apprentice who has a death mark on her head complicates matters.
There’s something about The Dresden Files that keeps bringing me back. Though it has been many months and at least two story arcs, I’m still interested in Harry’s adventures, and how he is going to use his skills to save the day (and his butt). This issue sets up the whodunit mystery as all first issues should – a pawn broker is killed in a very bloody way by a big red blob, and neither the White Council or the Red Court of Vampires is involved. To make matters more dire, no one has any recollection of ever seeing anything like it before. It is a good mystery, and that certainly is a draw, but there are other things that should build over the next couple of issues to make this a well rounded story.
The first is Molly Carpenter. I haven’t read any of the series that introduce her, or feature Harry and Molly having adventures together, but there is something very intriguing about seeing her grow, become frustrated, and fly off the handle. I’ve mentioned before that I have only read the first Dresden Files book, so I don’t know how deep the mythos goes, but this feels like Jim Butcher is introducing the character as a way of keeping Harry fresh, giving us something to experience again for the first time, and to set up a potential heal turn down the road.
The second is Marcone. When the underworld shows up to push Harry around it is an instant flag that something good is about to happen. A mob boss with knowledge of the supernatural opens up the door for so many crime story possibilities. Marcone and Dresden have a long history with one another (again, because I read the first book), and knowing that there is a weird relationship between them, draws me in even more. Can’t wait to see if Marcone is behind the big monster, or if he is a pawn in bigger story.
The writing is solid as always, but there are times when it feels like readers are being told key bits of information just to fill up space. On the flip side, I see why it is being done, because every new arc of the Dresden Files, is potentially someone’s first.
KEEPING IT SPOOKY
One thing I’ll say about the art in this book is each page is a different adventure in layout. By mixing it up throughout the issue, my mind never drifts from what is going on because the story isn’t contained in simple little boxes repeated again and again. When Molly has a flashback of what happened to the shop owner, or Dresden decides to visit his half-brother and we get two grand establishing shots on a single page, I’m never bored.
There are a few times when characters look a bit wonky, though. Throughout the issue Dresden goes from super skinny to looking like he has a bit of a beer belly, and Molly’s hips grown and shrink at will. Though it is a bit of nitpick, we get a full view of the assistant at the coffee shop in two different panels, yet we never see her face; both times are from her back. On the plus side, the color work is great – especially in the way Mohan deals with Molly’s rainbow hair.
BOTTOM LINE: GREAT FIRST ISSUE
Whenever I stumble on a new Dresden comic book, I’m always interested to see what the wizard is up to. The Dresden Files: Down Town #1 doesn’t disappoint. The setup is great, readers are introduced to multiple suspects, and the ongoing conflict between the magic tribes seals the deal in deciding whether or not to finish out this mini-series. The art is good, but wonky at times. I can live with it, because the story is so good. If you have been away from the Dresden Files for a while, or simply looking for your next magic mystery fix, The Dresden Files: Down Town #1 has what you want, and I give it a strong buy recommendation.