Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Marley Zarcone
Coloured by Ryan Hill
Lettered by Jared K. Fletcher
Cover art by W. Scott Forbes
Edited by Rowena Yow and Shelly Bond
Published by Vertigo
Writer Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Grayson) is teaming up with artist Marley Zarcone (Madame Xanadu, Fables), to bring you a strange murder mystery tale surrounding a strange cult with bizarre connection to an old science fiction series Star Cops. One of the stars of the show, former child actor-turned-cop, Chondra Jackson, is writing parking tickets now instead of lighting up the stage and screen like she (and her mother) wanted. Although she’s trying to escape her past, being surrounded by constant reminders of her own failures in her hometown Effigy Mound, makes it rather difficult.
This first issue is typical in that it merely introduces our cast of characters, with the most focus being on Chondra. It opens with a scene from Star Cops. I must admit that in just glancing at the first couple of pages, I thought I was reading an all-ages books for a split second. By the time you get to the end, you’ll definitely find that this is as far from an all-ages series as it can get. It’s a great contrast from the glamour and fantasy of Chondra’s young character in the old Star Cops show to the sad blandness of the present where she’s drabbed in her uniform, handing out a ticket to a former schoolmate. This issue really does well by showing us different hints into her character in almost every scene. From the flashbacks we get, to the her lunch with her mother, to her confessional, we get to see glimpses of a wonderfully flawed woman who has made a lifetime of mistakes and is just trying to get by now. Beyond the character-focused plot, we also see bits of the cultish aspects of the mystery as well and it’s pretty disturbing. All the glimpses and hints that Seeley and Zarcone weave into the issue are incredibly engaging, leaving us to wonder just how it all connects.
Zarcone’s illustrations pop in the first flashback scene with Chondra in Star Cops, unfortunately it’s far less clean in the rest of the issue. Where Zarcone really shines is in Chondra’s “confessional” scene, a single page with just panels of her face as she talks about her past. Another strong scene is the one between Chondra and her mother. As with most child star stories, her mother was her manager and you get an idea in just a few pages that their relationship is as terrible as you might guess with that combination. Still, regardless of the stronger intimate scenes, the art lacks dynamic movements that would really pace everything better visually.
Verdict: Despite a few hiccups with the art, this looks like it’ll be an intriguing ride and I’m looking forward to see where the larger conspiracy leads to in future issues. I’m a sucker for strongly-written and incredibly flawed characters, especially when they’re female characters, so I’ll definitely be keeping up with this series. If all this interests you, I encourage you to Check It Out!