One of the best parts of being a fan of the pop culture world in 2012 is that most everything gets mashed up. Genres are always crashing into one another, so we get super-hero reality show comics and super-hero reality show TV shows. We get zombies in the old west and zombies in the future and zombies in something like present-day Atlanta.
And we get private eyes every damn place — in the '30s, the present day, and, in the new Vic Blood: Malfunction Murder, in some vaguely defined art deco/film noir future where the latest in modern technology takes nothing away from the classic tropes of the wronged woman who double-crosses and is double-crossed herself, or from the hard-boiled, tough as nails, hard-loving, hard-drinking private dick who gets the crap kicked out of him in most every battle but (spoiler alert) comes out the winner at the end.
Yeah, it's all a bit familiar but that's kind of the point with a book like this, and Shawn Aldridge doesn't take any of the events in this comic too seriously. The whole book has a really manic feel to it, sometimes slipping into real silliness (in a scene with some weird-ass incompetent bad guys that's a bit too jarring in comparison with the rest of the book). The fun in a futuristic detective story is in seeing how the creators play with some of the classic elements of noir PI drama and twist and turn those elements to their own style and design.
On that level, the book succeeds wonderfully. It's a bright and silly exploration of the PI's life, and while parts of it aren’t totally fresh, it's that familiarity that breeds contentment. And when an oddly different element is introduced into the book — Vic's pseudo-blaxpoitation girlfriend Savannah, the awesome robots or the intriguing designer drug Metamorphosis — the book really starts to take on a spark of extra excitement as a more multi-leveled mash-up that begins to feel really fresh and exciting. We even get a scene that's slightly reminiscent of a werewolf movie!
Artist Geoffo's art is another element of this book that makes it stand out. He draws in a very unique style, a kind of rough and unfinished style that is also remarkably consistent and interesting throughout the entire book. As you can see from the pages included with this review, Geoffo also colors this book in a very unique way, using bold swatches of flat colors to illustrate his heroes rather than any sort of realistic or Photoshop-type coloring like we might expect in a mainstream book. The coloring gives the book an intriguing surreal look which really makes it stand out next to its peers. My only real complaint about the art is that sometimes the unorthodox coloring makes it hard to tell what's going on in this book, as details and complexity is sometimes lost on the edges.
This book is a really fun mash-up of all kinds of different genres and elements, illustrated in a very unique style that makes the book feel really unique. I really enjoyed my trip to Vic Boone's strange world.