It’s rare that a comic completely catches me off guard, usually there’s some semblance of what’s going on before the surprise. With this series though, I was caught off guard completely when I read it, so much so that I leaned back in my chair and was like, “Damn… you got me.” I’m going to remain as spoiler free when describing the details about story and unfortunately that means not telling you what “got me”, I’ll explain as much as I can though and maybe save the rest for the podcast. Just know that this is a good fucking comic. The story opens with three grueling murders in a mall that’s days away from its scheduled opening. The local police call for D.C.I. Bramley due to his extensive experience with difficult or unexplained cases. He arrives with an Belle, a woman that’s been assigned to him like a personal assistant. They arrive on scene and meet D.I. Sutton the local that’s in charge of the case. He walks them into the bloody scene that is the mall. All three bodies were nothing more than skeletons with blood and flesh spilled out everywhere. It’s literally like a human bomb went off inside with guts reaching all the way to the ceiling and flung everywhere. They walk through all three murder scenes and Bramley attempts to piece together the crime without going to the realm of unexplained. They have one guard and the site manager as their only leads, but nothing is directly pointing to the two men. What’s even stranger is that the new camera equipment seems to be altered as the murders happen within seconds of each other, but the time code appears unaltered.
When leaving the scene Belle finds a single feather. They take it with them as they head out to check out the hospitalized witness. After getting to the there they discover that the man is just mumbling the same thing over and over in ancient Greek. The doctor lets them know that the guard is in a catatonic state and isn’t registering any brain waves. With one witness/suspect unable to cooperate it leads Bramley to suspect hypnosis of some kind. They take the feather to a specialist after the doctor’s and instead of it providing some answers, it only raises more questions.
The thing about this story is that there are elements of it that are not particularly interesting. Most of the character interaction is there to distract you and even sometimes annoy you. In particular, every male character that had a line of dialog seemed to also have a line hitting on Belle. It was so blatant at times that you wondered why Bramley didn’t just put the kibosh on everything. There is a hidden charisma to this story though and at first I wasn’t very interested in it, but then when you think you have your head wrapped around everything it becomes interesting. It leads you to believe in one path for the outcome so heavily, while presenting you facts that counters it, that you can’t help but be completely fooled by it. The clues are there don’t get me wrong, but I would actually encourage you not to look for them. Allow yourself to be tricked because it makes for an enjoyable reading experience.
The art is really the only weakness of the story and it’s not that it’s bad or distracting. At first it’s a bit off putting since every panel looks photo referenced and the coloring is very basic. But there is something that works about it. Something that makes the story feel real (of course it also helps that it’s based on a real mall as well). While the art works for the story I don’t see it being successful on another story per say, but it would be interesting to see if it could be. Just don’t let the art fool you as it strangely plays an important role in the mystery.
There’s so much more I could say about this story. I’m not kidding when I say that it didn’t interest me at first. I certainly became more interested in finishing it by the end of the first issue, but around half way through the second issue when the bomb is dropped on you... I was blown away. Nothing more than an outline on the wall it was that damn good. It’s a great reminder never to judge a comic too soon and one of the principle reasons I always give a series a second chance. Not that I wasn’t going to finish this series, but when the time comes again I’ll think of this series.
Now, there are a variety of ways for you to get this series and they’re all in digital format. You can pick it up on the usual ebook stores such as Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Sony and Apple, but also Drive Thru Comics,Smashwords and Diesel. If you live in the U.K. in the Sheffield area you can pick it up on CD rom locally. For two bucks it’s well worth it, so check it out.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Craig Daley
Publisher: CD Comics
Price: $.99 each
Website: CD Comics