A truly impressive single issue that sets up a compelling mystery and looks great. All crime and/or noir fans need to pick this one up.
What is the secret of Stiletto and how does it unlock the key to a double murder? Your Major Spoilers review of Stiletto #1 awaits!
Writer: Palle Schmidt
Artist: Palle Schmidt
Colorist: Palle Schmidt
Letterer: Sean Konot
Editor: Greg Tumbarello
Publisher: Lion Forge Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: April 3, 2019
Previously in Stiletto: The brutal slaying of two police officers guarding a material witness pin detectives Alphonse and Maynard against their toughest adversary yet. But as they get further into their investigation, they uncover a leak inside the police department known only as “Stiletto.”
A TERRIBLE MURDER
We open in a city that is unnamed but could be New York or Copenhagen or perhaps both, we follow a pair of police officers as they protect a witness, taking him to a remote motel to hole up until it is his time to testify. Their hideout is no secret, however, as someone has leaked their location and both officers are murdered with a shotgun. Detectives Alphonse and Maynard are called in to handle the investigation, and we get a close look into both of their lives: Maynard living with his heavy-spending wife and children, Alphonse with a cool 70s car and devil-may-care attitude. Things start getting complicated right away, as their Captain warns them not to trust anybody, while they’re tasked with working with other officers, all the while knowing that there’s a mole within the department. Oh, and they only have 24 hours before Agent Khouri steps in and takes their investigation away. Thanks to a couple of bits of really impressive detective work, Maynard and Alphonse manage to find their shooter.
That’s when everything goes to hell.
A MOLE IN THE DEPARTMENT
I really enjoyed this double-sized issue, especially how the extra pages allowed us to see more of the characters’ lives and personalities, all of which makes the detective work that much more satisfying. The way this story unfolds is fascinating to see, especially the shocking moments like the sudden attack in the hotel and the final page reveal. Palle Schmidt is clearly a master of the comic form, imparting every panel with tons of detail and expression, and using a limited color palette to enhance the noir elements of the story. The tension builds and builds throughout the story, but Maynard and Alphonse never lose their humor and rounded personalities, and it’s easy to believe that they’re long-time coworkers and partners who have developed a strong rapport through years of interaction. Best of all, when the issue reveals what may be the source of the leak, it’s a complete surprise that still makes perfect sense based on the information we have unwittingly been provided.
BOTTOM LINE: FORTY-EIGHT PAGES OF REALLY WELL-DONE NOIR
All in all, Stiletto #1 is a double-sized issue with incredible art and a really well-crafted story full of twists and turns that maintains its clarity and humanity throughout, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. If you enjoy crime stories, skilled comic book storytelling or excellent coloring, this book is absolutely for you.