I don’t know where this series came from, but it feels like it appeared out of nowhere. I didn’t have an inkling of an idea what this series was about, but something about it just looked like it would be familiar. Strangely enough I ended up really liking almost all of it. I’m warming up to one of the main characters, but his initial introduction didn’t leave a lot to like. The story takes place in New York City and we open with Thomas Alsop blogging about himself. He’s drunk and I suppose that excuses him being so annoying. He finally gives us something of substance when he says he’s “Thomas Alsop – Supernatural Detective, The Hand of the Island.” He’s the supernatural protector of New York City and frankly that caught my attention instantly. After showing Thomas’ fame and day job and all that crap we get to his origin which is at least convincingly feed into the story. Since he’s blogging he’s told to constantly remind the audience of his origin or they’ll forget.
The gist is that a relative of his was cursed by a Native American and now the people in his familiar are the “Hand of the Island.” The city talks to them, but not really in a voice, but rather feelings that urge them to go towards events happening in order to prevent something bad.
During a dream Thomas wakes up on a shore in which he normal sees “the lady” a hooded female figure that represents the island/city. He also sees someone else for the first time and it’s his relative Richard Alsop that was originally cursed. They meet each other, but they’re unsure of the “why.”
We then flip over to Richard’s story during the time of the pilgrims and witch trials and all that. His side of the tale was far more interesting as he concludes some business that involves buying some land and then moves on to his “other” business. He’s pushed towards a church where he finds a man praying. He interrupts the man by introducing himself and the man instantly knows who he is. They talk and it’s clear that Richard isn’t there to kill him or anything, but he’s there to give the man a message for his masters that their old evil from the old country will not be allowed into this country. The man laughs it off so Richard burns his tongue out.
It does become clear to the reader why the two Alsop’s are meeting as their events are about to cross paths. I loved the idea of the city/island having a protector and guiding them towards danger that they need to deal with. It was very interesting and writer Chris Miskiewicz executed it perfectly.
Again I wasn’t a big fan of Thomas’ since he does come off completely full of himself at times. There was a moment in which his girlfriend wanted to watch him, watching his talk show appearance. It felt like filler to the story that wasn’t needed, but hey it might play into things later… maybe. Overall I liked the dialogue more than the narration. The narration could be a bit heavy and I say that understanding that it’s a blog. It didn’t need to be that realistic and it at times was too redundant even though that was the joke. The story line with Richard shined and was definitely the strongest part of the story.
The art is interesting. I didn’t fall in love with it right away. Usually I can tell if I’m going to like a story’s art from the first few panels, but this issue took me a while to warm up to it. I could see the skills and the craft, but it never grabbed me. It’s good and supports the story very well, but I need to see more to really decide. I liked the fact that when we see Thomas at different points in his life his facial hair has changed. That definitely made him feel like a real character, but the downside is that his age looks different each time as well. The art was also better for the second half of the story than the first as the overall style complimented the past better than the future.
I was surprised by this issue. I didn’t know what to expect, but the concept quickly won me over and the rest managed to build past my initial interest. For a first issue it stumbles some, but overall it introduces the reader to the world that isn’t forced or annoying and leaves the reader wanting more. I have a feeling this first issue only skims the surface of the story and that the next issue will dive in deeper. I’ll be back to find out and hopefully you will be too.
Writer: Chris Miskiewicz Artist: Palle Schmidt Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/18/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital