Sometimes comics really aren’t great jumping-on points. Case in point: Brodie’s Law #7, part one of the series’ second serial, “Hide ‘n’ Seek.” I had heard great things about this series. My fellow reviewer James Redington bestowed 4 stars to issue #5 back in February, so I was anxious to check this series out. What I found was a comic with a lot of interesting elements, but in which I found very hard to figure out exactly what was going on.
What I do get is that there’s an ex-cop named Jack Brodie. He’s a hard-ass, a tough guy who just wants to put his time in on the force, maybe catch some bad guys, and then take his retirement. However, his wife is killed and his son kidnapped. Jack takes a formula called PM13 that gives him anonymity, which in this case is the ability to change his appearance to be exactly like somebody else when he touches them. Jack has begun to lose his sanity and even his very identity due to those transformations, and as this issue begins, he ends up passed out and in need of hospitalization.
This is where the comic fell apart for me. I had tremendous trouble sorting out the various characters in this issue. There is a Japanese killer out to get Jack and another woman who tries to help him. This leads to some interesting scenes in the hospital and on the roads as the two women chase each other to try to get Jack’s body back. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble following the story as it navigated between the two characters. For instance, I had trouble following what happened between page three, when Jack is sped to the hospital, and page four, where the Japanese assassin falls asleep outside the hospital and has a bad dream. She is obviously a different character than the one who helps Jack since she has longer hair, but then why is she outside the hospital? And why is her plan to grab Jack’s body out of the hospital so bizarre and confusing?
I also found the car chase at the middle of the issue confusing. One car crashes off a bridge during the chase, but later there’s a reference to it being okay as if it had no effect on the people within it. I can’t help but to think I’m a bit dense and missing a major plot point by not understanding what happened there.
It’s a shame I was so confused because at its core this story has a lot to like about it. The question of how a person maintains his identity when he possesses someone else’s identity is interesting and unique. Also, there are scenes in this comic where the dialogue crackles and the action flows along. Perhaps I need to seek out the recently-released first collection of this series so it will make more sense. As a stand-alone issue, however, this one was disappointing.