Sharing a name with Dr. Frederic Wertham’s infamous book which attacked comic-books for corrupting the minds of children around the world, this book gives the reader certain expectations before they even reach the first page – to some extent it lives up to them, containing brutal murder, decapitation and even Nazism there’s certainly some mature content on display here. However, where it doesn’t quite live up to expectations is in the story department where right now it shows promise but isn’t living up to it’s potential. Set in 1950s America, this series follows a group of FBI agents investigating the linked murders of numerous notable mob bosses. While perhaps not the most original idea, this is a premise which could be entertaining to watch play out – unfortunately there are some shortcomings here which make this far from a flawless debut. For starters, I feel like perhaps writer Ande Parks has revealed a little too much about this mystery considering this is only the first issue. We already know the identity of the killers and what their motives are which makes me wonder how this story is going to drag out for several issues as presumably it will. Perhaps there is more unveiling to be done as at present the antagonist’s grand plan seems wholly illogical but it’s hard to know whether that’s just a result of sloppy writing.
This story centres on a hardened veteran whose name escapes me (in fact, looking back through the issue I’m not sure if we’re even told it), and a newbie transfer by the name of Jennings who just isn’t sure if he can handle life in the big leagues. If these archetypes sound familiar to you that doesn’t surprise me. The wise-ass veteran and the unsure new recruit have been used in countless fiction works and consequentially here they feel quite tiresome. Indeed, the apparently nameless chief detective actually grew a little annoying and his snarky responses to every comment sent his way made him feel less of a believable character, and more of a wise-cracking detective caricature.
This forgettable main cast is a real detriment to this book as are the plot shortcomings. That being said, this issue isn’t without merit. The story does show some potential and is nicely brought to life by Esteve Polls whose artwork both feels modern, whilst also capturing the style of the 1950s pulp comics from which this series draws inspiration. I’m interested to see where this book goes, and will be sticking around to see whether things perk up – but needless to say if you’re a comic-book fan on a budget, this is a book you can pass on without feeling that you’re missing out on something.
Seduction of the Innocent #1 Writer: Ande Parks Artist: Esteve Polls Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/2/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital