Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Private Eye by Brain K Vaughan, Marcos Martin, Muntsa Vicente


Rating: WORTHY!

This graphic novel was immediately interesting, well-written, brightly colored, and unusually, every "page" was a two-page spread! I liked this, but it makes the comic a bit small for reading on the iPad, and impossible on a smart phone! I read it on a desktop computer with a reasonably large screen. I used Adobe Digital Editions opened to full screen and it looked wonderful like that. I can't speak for how the print edition will look.

The novel's setting is either set in the near future, or set in an alternate reality. It wasn't completely clear, but the world is very much like ours except more futuristic (and in some cases anachronistic). This is a world where people routinely wear disguises. The reason for this was a cloud burst (after a fashion!) and subsequent flood of private information across the Internet which turned everyone obsessive about privacy. Now there's no internet, and it's all but impossible to find out anything about anyone. The people who do the investigations are not the police. I don't know what happened to them! The press are the ones enforcing the law! Weird but amusing, especially since they're not very good at it.

The first guy we meet appears to be a peeping Tom, but it soon becomes clear that he's actually the eponymous private eye. He's taking pictures of a woman who has just arrived home. She looks quite stunning, but then she peels off some sort of head cover in a manner rather like we routinely see in the Mission Impossible movies. Underneath, she's a lot more representative of the entire population: ordinary, and given to wearing masks. Nearly every in this country wears either a facial or a full head masks nearly all the time. Some of the masks are every elaborate, and run the gamut from the bizarre to the animal to the circus to human. The rich can afford expensive hologram projector for their masks.

The PI delivers the photos he took to the man who hired him. Curiously, the photos are on actual film, with negatives and prints. The client was someone who knew the woman in high school and was trying to track her down. This is where we learned that the PI actually does have some ethics. He won't give out her address. His next client is killed the same evening she hires him. She wants him to dig up any dirt on her that he can find, as a test for how hard it might be for her newly prospective employer to find out her secrets. And secrets she has. From that point onwards, all hell lets loose. What was she into? What did she know? Who is so bothered by it that they're willing to kill - and not just her?

The story borrows from a lot of movies for its artistic inspiration. The cars are right out of Back to the Future - hover vehicles with folding wheels. The motorcycles look like they were taken from Star Wars - the ones where the bike frame was within the one large wheel. Some of the ideas seemed odd. Although they have those hover cars, for example, they also have payphones on street corners, which seemed highly improbable.

Those were minor complaints compared with the artistry and story-telling here though, which was engrossing and which moved apace. I loved this story, and I recommend it as a worthy read.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep comments respectful and polite; trolling, abusive, and hateful comments will be deleted summarily. Constructive criticism, insightful contributions, and humorous observations are always welcome!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.