Here’s a question, what happens when a serial killer, an ex-FBI agent, and a cult find themselves all on a collision course? Your Major Spoilers review of Vinyl #1 awaits!
VINYL #1 (OF 6)
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Daniel Hillyard
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Kevin Gardner
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date : June 23rd, 2021
Previously in Vinyl: PLASTIC creators Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard return with Eisner Award winner Dave Stewart for an unsettling tale of psychopaths, sweet love, and a serial killer named Walter.
PUT IT ON
Vinyl #1 opens two days in the future with Dennis and Walter in a room with what appears to be a zombie woman swinging an axe, ready to kill Dennis. Things then jump back to the present day where we learn that Dennis is working with the FBI to try and get information from Walter, who thinks Dennis is his best friend. Dennis presses Walter about information about a murder that happened by asking him when the last time he had heard a specific song that happened to be playing at the crime scene. Before he can get any information the conversation is interrupted by a woman named Madeline and her posse. She informs Dennis that they have his daughter. He willingly agrees to go with them if they let her go. At Madeline’s sunflower farm, Walter arrives and asks nicely for her to let Dennis go. She denies him. Later on, Walter returns, this time not to ask nicely.
THE RIGHT KIND OF HOOKS
In this day and age, it’s difficult to have a truly unique and original idea. Often times, the real originality has to come from the details, and in that regard, Vinyl #1 succeeds on multiple levels. Serial killers are nothing new in comic books, but one who’s murderous intent is tied to specific music and specifically the playing of vinyl recordings, is a unique twist that has so far been utilized well. Stories where criminals and cops have to team up are also not uncommon. But, one where the cop is being held hostage by a cult and needs rescuing by a serial killer, that’s a unique spin. Thankfully, these concepts are also executed well. There’s a lot of information dumped during this first issue as the characters and their relationships are established. Yet, nothing feels rushed here, instead the events of this comic come across as efficient, while leaving room for the characters to grow.
Another thing that the creators of Vinyl #1 deserves credit for how they utilize the music elements in this. It’s typically hit or miss when music is depicted in comics and in this issue it falls on the “hit” side. Using bold, panel filling, read outs of the lyrics, the music is established as being front and center and not just in the background. There’s importance with the music and they make sure you realize this. As for some of the other artistic choices, the amount of gore comes very close to crossing that line between unsettling and campy in most of its occurrences while straight up crossing that line in a couple. The color palette here is very soft and light, which doesn’t always jive well with the more gruesome elements of the issue making them not-so-much shocking, but out of place.
BOTTOM LINE: PAY ATTENTION TO THIS ONE
Vinyl #1 is a strong opening for this miniseries. It has a strong foundation that will be familiar to a lot of readers, but then adds just enough twists to that formula to be interesting without being incoherent. Some fun music integration and design work makes this enjoyable visually as well. The one knock against it is that sometimes the art doesn’t feel as cohesive as the rest of the issue. 4 out of 5 stars.
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Bloody comics about murderers and cops are a dime a dozen, but Vinyl #1 manages to do just enough to separate itself from that crowd and lay the groundwork for what looks to be a fun miniseries.