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Turncoat (TPB) Review

Written by Alex Paknadel

Art by Artoym Trakhanov

Colours by Jason Wordie

Reviewed by Lorna Maltman ( maltmalorna@gmail.com)

Imagine if one of the countless alien invasions succeeded! Turncoat deals with the aftermath of when the humans have reclaimed earth- hint, it is not as successful as you would hope.  This comic deals with the social and political issues of such a massive event and does so with such care that at times, for me, was reminiscent of Zootopia as, whilst Turncoat is not a kid’s comic, it too uses a missing persons case to highlight the social issues of a fragile society.

We view this story through the eyes of Marta Gonzalez, who under the aliens known as the management,  was a New York cop, but she turned on the management and gave the resistance key intel which dealt a decisive blow. After this, we pick up five years later where Marta is resented by both ex-resistance and those still loyal to the management. She has become a private investigator and when an elderly lady enters her offices asking her to find her missing son she is suspicious as to why she didn’t ask the police. But then, who is going to turn down good money? This leads to Marta unravelling secrets and plots from all sectors of this new society, which are all a direct result of the management’s influence.  The revelation of why Marta betrayed the management at the end of this trade is powerful and emotional as it explains earlier reactions and who Marta is as a character.

In Turncoat Paknadel writes flawed characters and writes them well –  Marta has the sarcasm that all good detectives should have, but you can tell that there is emotion behind her actions and that she was no saint during the rule of the management. The fact that the management are not shown at all, helps draws attention to the effect they had and the actual events in the comic instead of the actual alien invasion. Paknadel melds together sci-fi with crime noir in a way that feels effortless and creates an interesting world.

Trakhanov’s distinctive art is very sketchy, with thick lines and inking. This sometimes makes it hard to determine what is going on or the anatomy of a person. On the whole, the rough aesthetic helps blend the sci-fi and noir tones, but the art will not be for everyone.  Wordie’s colours are incredible, as it would be easy to just have bright colours for a sci-fi or drab tones for noir, but Wordie balances the line between the two, making this comic and trade, not just a genre piece but something filled with emotion and thoughtfulness.

Verdict:

Give it a shot.  I really enjoyed Turncoat and, if you are looking for a dynamic and insightful world and characters, this is worth checking out. Furthermore, the social and political themes are handled with care and attention that not many comics or media provide in this day and age. However, I know the art style will deter some readers and, whilst it has some jokes, it is not a light-hearted romp.

 

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