I was pretty excited when Dark Horse announced that The Occultist would be getting an ongoing series, the one-shot earlier in the year was very good and some of Tim Seeley's strongest work. This first issue is bittersweet for me, on one hand I liked a lot of it and was glad to see its return. On the other hand though, some of the writing problems that plague Seeley in all of his work are very apparent in this work as well. The biggest weakness of the issue is that even though it recaps the one shot for you, it still relies heavily on you having read it. The issue begins with a call girl attacking a modern Shaman. The woman is some kind of demon that is basically using the skin of the woman to gain access to him. Really the only thing useful from this scene is the fact that the shaman uses his phone as a wand. Meanwhile our occultist Robert is trying to deal with his new found powers, homework, the death of his employer and a girlfriend all at the same time. There's an awkwardly long scene between him and one of the other guys in the dorm that does literally nothing to move the story forward. Thankfully the scene comes to a close when an attractive officer comes to question Robert about the death of his former employer (if this was a comic I would make an editors notes saying *See One-Shot). At any rate he confesses everything to her, but the sword/book that he's absorbed casts a spell on her confusing her.
There's actually a lot more to the story and literally eight more characters that are introduced, but frankly I would be droning on and on trying to find something interesting to tell you. Really the story is just whatever and fails to capture the magic (pun intended) of the one-shot. Here's the thing about this story, if you like Seeley's writing on Hack/Slash then you'll like the Occultist for sure. If you're like me and feel that his attention wanders and he's unable to focus on one character to make them interesting on their own, thus he adds character after character to the story... then you'll probably wonder why he's ruining a good thing.
On the plus side the art is fantastic. Some of the characters are photo realistic and all of the magic users have awesome designs. These are the type of characters that Cosplayers dream of since they're costumes are cool and yet simple. The two female bounty hunters stand out in particular for having unique looks. Artist Victor Drujiniu is the silver lining of this issue and because of him I'll keep going on this series hoping that co-plotter Mike Richardson reigns Seeley in.
This was by far not the best first issue and really it's more like issue two since the one-shot does so much work for the story, but its a decent issue. I would pick this up over several books that DC and Marvel are releasing this week, but really it's just an average comic. I'm looking forward to what the next issue brings as I hope that the story can continue without so much recapping and character introducing happening throughout.
Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Victor Drujiniu Publisher: Dark Horse Comics