For those of you that missed the first series of 27, and then you are in luck as the series returns this week with a new four issue mini. The first series had a connecting theme of artists that all died at the age of 27 and the theme for the second series is "One hit wonders." Right off the bat this first issue acts more as a reintroduction to the series and a jumping on point for new readers than it does in creating new and interesting content. The book opens up with Garland playing a show with his left hand. He's learning how to play the guitar flipped upside down after losing the ability to play with his right hand. Because he basically sucks with his other hand he's forced to become a better song writer and communicate more with his lyrics than with the notes. He loves it and hates it at the same time. He's now dating his manager who gives him nothing but praise, but ultimately it’s not enough as he craves fame once again. He becomes bitter with is manager and pushes her away as he blames her for getting him to play music with his opposite hand instead of fading into irrelevance. Now music is nothing more than frustration as he can hear how the song should sound in his head, but is unable to play it.
The next day he wakes up and heads to a lab he's set up with his now friend from college that is looking into the Nine and Erebus in an attempt to figure out how many button presses Garland has left. He asks him to press the button again so that he can get a better reading, but of course Garland tells him "no." This of course foreshadows what's to come next as Garland is hooked up with an external monitoring device in case he changes his mind.
Initially when I got done with this book I wasn't as impressed, or at least as "wowed" as I was with the first series, but now after talking about it and thinking about it... I can't stop. I'm already craving to read the next issue and that is where writer Charles Soule has always succeeded with his writing. He really hooks you on the story and makes it to where you become impatient for the next chapter. In fact I purposely read this book last this week because I knew that I would get hooked on the story yet again and that's saying a lot since I've been waiting for this book since earlier in the year.
The art is thankfully the same as series artist Renzo Podesta returns. His style is the same at its core with gritty thick lining, but it has also improved and matured since the first series. Much like our characters, Podesta's art has grown and changed. He shows that he's still a very strong visual storyteller, but I think that his layouts were more creative with the first series. Hopefully he was just playing it safe to ease new readers into the story and we'll really see his art explode in the next issues. For now though he is still very good and has a unique and bold style unlike other comics on the market.
Again, I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did and would completely understand if readers weren't initially awed by this issue. But trust me, sit on the book for a while and maul it over and you'll really find that it got under your skin in a very good way. If you missed the first series pick up the trade that's out now in stores and don't miss this next batch of comic/music goodness.
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Renzo Podesta
Publisher: Shadowline and Image Comics