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Preview: Brodie's Law #1
Written by Alan Grant
Art by David Bircham

There are two things you learn during the course of Brodie's Law #1 that would be a lot more helpful if you got them in the beginning. 1) It's set in England, so don't be surprised when peoples’ accents seem a bit off and crimelords meet with the nobility. 2) Forget about the lead-in paragraph on the inside cover and the issue reads a lot easier.

Yes, what I'm saying is that something in the beginning really shouldn't be in the beginning, and the rest of the book suffers for it.

Jack Brodie is a badass street criminal with more grudges than friends. His ex-wife is the standard cokefiend whore who keeps running back to her Russian pimp when Brodie is taking care of “business”. However, they have a son, and Jack isn’t about to let his former spouse skip out on her motherly duties just to score some blow. Even if it means marching into a private nightclub filled with armed goons and holding a gun to the dealer’s head.

What follows is a pretty typical little crime story. We start out in flashback, being told Brodie’s tale by our gutshot hero. Then some exposition, the showdown at the club, introduction of some more players, and, ultimately, an excuse for Brodie to go on the warpath. Like he needs one. The modern noir stylings of both the story and the art give the book some appeal, but unlike, say, Sin City or 100 Bullets, this crime story doesn’t really set itself apart from anything else we’ve seen in the genre. A thug with a cross to bear? It’s fun, but nothing special.

But this brings us back to the paragraph that came in the beginning of the book. It tells us that Brodie has some kind of ability to swap faces. The authors could be taking poetic license, but it sounds like he can literally become other people. It’s a great add-on to the street story with only one problem: it never happens in this issue. I spent the entire time waiting for him to do something “really cool," and it was just more of the same thugging. No body swapping or masterful disguises.

Now, I won’t fault the creators for holding back on the special effects, but that introduction gives readers expectations the issue can’t live up to. If the whole thing wasn’t some kind of metaphor, they should’ve been dropping hints that he has those extraordinary abilities throughout the story. If he gets them later, we need foreshadowing. As is, I just felt rather confused.

David Bircham’s art was also a bit of a mystery. I loved a lot of his linework, despite some inconsistencies…. He may have been having a little too much fun playing around with Photoshop, though. The partial coloring he does gives a lot of depth to the images, but the generic background patterns and paintbrush/blur effects tend to go way overboard, at times. It reminds me of Bendis’ experiments on Jinx and Torso, and not in a good way. It’s the kind of work that looked unique and impressive ten years ago, but feels rough and amateurish today. Really too bad, since it mars some otherwise delicious art.

If you're interested in Brodie's Law, check out Pulp Theatre's website for more information.

Jason Schachat

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