Review: Archer Coe - Vol. 1: The Thousand Natural Shocks

As luck would have it, sometimes you just pick up that comic that was meant to be read by you, that was amazingly enjoyable, and the act of picking it up was just all by random. Archer Coe hit every chord that I love about comics. It had that old time feel even though the comic is set in present day. I think the black and white colors made me dive right into this feeling. The comic’s plot entails a murder mystery through and through. I can’t help but be grabbed by each and every loop hole the writer throws at us. Also, I get to learn about a trait that I was never interested in; hypnosis. And last but not least, Archer loves talking to cats. Seriously, these little shits come out of nowhere to give Archer advice. Now clearly these cats are just strays, and no one else speaks to the felines. But they speak to him as his moral compass. Clearly, he doesn’t listen to the cats, because like any sensible person knows, cats are all liars. We begin the story the same way we end it; hypnotizing the audience. What a cool profession to explore. I never got into hypnosis, but find it fascinating that these people can pick up on other people’s habits. Archer isn’t just a prank though; he really possess the power of role playing with minds. Archer’s first subject is a cat sitting on a park bench. Already I was hooked. We then move on to Archer’s show. He proves to his audience that his power is real, and soon a man decides to put the fate of his marriage into Archer. This man is Jonathan Midland. He is a big name in the town and very wealthy. His wife, Hope, seems frigid towards him. So he wants Archer to figure out why. Doesn’t sound very murder mystery, but believe me it gets there. When Jonathan or Jack, as they call him, goes missing, the police’s first suspect is Archer Coe. Now he must prove his innocence to them.

Archer Coe Vol. 1His alibi is Hope which makes it even more suspicious. What is so intriguing about the comic is that Hope knows exactly who Archer is. She knows everything about him. Archer doesn’t seem to remember her but is drawn to her beauty. So the whole time, the reader is really wondering what the hell is going on with Hope instead of why Jack is missing. She even acts like Archer knows her too. She is oblivious to the fact that he clearly needs some background knowledge of her. Well I won’t say oblivious but more secretive.

We get lots of mind games going on in this comic. We jump through memories, and instances that don’t seem real, so the whole comic is very trippy. I couldn’t get enough of the mind games being played on me. Just when I thought I had figured it out, I got slapped in the face. The thing is you never really figure out the truth. I would love to reread this comic over and over, because I would get a different ending every time. It opens the doors to a creative ending. I haven’t had many comics that make me think about what has happened in the end. A lot are cut and dry. Any comic that can make multiple endings in the reader’s mind is genius.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Jamie S. Rich Artist: Dan Christensen Publisher: Oni Press Price: $19.99 Release Date: 6/11/14