Writer: Peter David
Artists: David Lopez (p), Fernando Blanco (i)
As a distraught mother comes to the town of Bete Noire looking for her missing son, we see she hires the services of a mysterious woman known as the Fallen Angel, who looks to be this town's resident hero. However, when the Fallen Angel locates the young man we see that the woman looking for him is not his mother, and this exchange ends rather poorly.
I've been a fan of Peter David's work ever since I started to really take notice of the names that filled the credit boxes, and if any writer can make a go of it with a new series featuring a never seen before character & setting, I have every confidence in his ability to do so. Now this latest series is quite unlike most of his previous work, as it appears to have a darker tone, and while I hear his current arc over on Captain Marvel is also pretty grim, the simple fact of the matter is that this issue left me a bit unsure if I'm going to embrace this book quite as willingly as I've done with his past projects. Now it's entertaining enough, as we have a lead character who isn't exactly the most heroic of sorts, and there's a fairly impressive surprise regarding this character's relationship with her main villain in the final pages, that left me curious. The town of Bete Noire is also an interesting creation, as it looks like a setting that can easily play host to all sorts of mysterious events, and that it's overflowing with dark secrets. However, with the lead character's sporting a decidedly unsympathetic vibe, and the grief stricken mother revealed to be something else entirely, I found myself a bit put off by this issue's decided lack of characters who are even remotely likable.
As for the art, I'm not entirely sure David Lopez is the style this book needs, as while there's some impressive shadow & light work, the art never quite manages to convey the darker mood that I suspect this book is going for. The work is a little too simplistic, and the big impact moments, such as the scene in the final pages where we learn who has been shot, simply wasn't nearly as powerful as one might've hoped for.
Not exactly the run away success that I had gone in hoping to find, but it's a fairly engaging debut issue, and my past experience with Peter David's work has me more than willing to give this book several more issues to really grab my interest. The book is certainly far more serious minded than his more recent projects, as there's not much humor to be found in these pages, and our lead character looks to be a rather grim creation, who isn't afraid to play rough, as she blinds a sniper, and later in the issue she lets a woman be gunned down. The setting of Bete Noire is also quite interesting, as we see this is a town where one doesn't go out after dark, as this place makes Gotham City's rather suspect nightlife look rather pleasant by comparison. As far as first issues go it's a pretty solid start, and while I was a bit put off by the lack of any truly likeable characters, I'm thinking perhaps the lead character is simply being revealed to the readers at a slower pace, to play up the element of mystery.
What did you think of this book?
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