Review: The Private Eye #7

While everyone is busy jizzing on themselves every month about Brian K. Vaughan’s current indie darling, Saga, they’re missing his other stellar ongoing work, The Private Eye. This is not to say people should not love Saga (because they definitely should), but that the dude is all about experimenting with the form and the business on The Private Eye, and that’s rad as hell. The Private Eye releases on a pretty severely staggered schedule, so let me bring you up to speed with the P.I. He’s got the sister of a dead girl with him as they try to uncover the conspiracy that killed her; his assistant is in the hospital, being kidnapped by said (French) conspiracy; and his grandpa is us. That is to say, his grandpa is a tatted-up old man with hipster glasses, a fond remembrance of the internet, and a foul mouth. I don’t want to spoil too much at this point, because if you’re reading this you’re either a) almost caught up or b) probably gonna be super lost; go download all the other issues, because guess what son, they’re free. (Well, technically they’re pay-what-you-can, but still).

Issue 7, admittedly, didn’t blow me away like some of the past issues of the series have. When it’s on, it is well and truly on, but this time, it was a victim of its own decompression. Since the business model they work with doesn’t necessarily mean they get paid the right amount for the book when it comes out, its release timeline tends to have more air in it. A lot of things that happen in this issue address past moments and presage future ones, but I was still left with the feeling that very little actually happened.

The upside of this is that while sometimes an issue can feel like 90% chase scene (like this one), Marcos Martin is one of the true pros, and makes every panel gorgeous. Even working in this screen-to-screen landscape format, Martin has adapted to it and made it shine. It feels like each page is a double page spread, and he uses that to his advantage. Meanwhile, Muntsa Vicente colors it all with vibrant futuristic rainbow palettes, and still makes it feel like a unified whole, like a world where people live.

This book is what happens when A-List creators give themselves free reign to say, “fuck it, we’ll do it our way.” They don’t use a traditional publisher, the only real notification when a new issue comes out is an email blast, and they consistently deliver a product that looks and feels professional. These guys breaking the strictures of the normal model (or, “Radioheading”, as I’m deciding to call it) makes picking up this series worth it, especially if you’re the kind of nerd like me who’s fascinated by that kind of thing. If you’re just looking for a good story with killer art... you’ll find that here, too.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Artist: Marcos Martin Colorist: Musta Vincente Publisher: Panel Syndicate Price: Pay What You Want Website