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27 #1 – Review

William Garland is a music God. After years of struggling through all the music industry clichés Will and his band play a sold out show for twenty-two thousand fans at the Staples Center in L.A. A year later Will is practically broke and travels from doctor to doctor to fix his left hand. As a guitarist his left hand is his fret hand and there for his most important of the two. He went from having magic fingers to being dropped by his label and sued by his band mates.

Will has literally traveled the world looking for a Doctor that can fix his hand, but it has finally come down to one last experimental doctor that’s willing to take the last of his money to fix him. He meets him in a dark and seedy warehouse where he’s strapped into an apparatus that the “doctor”, one Hargrave Swinthe has created. Hargrave hooks the device up to nine cats and explains to Will the cats have a strong association with the number nine. Nine lives times nine cats equals 81 and eight plus one equals nine. Hargrave then undresses himself to reveal a tribal body tattoo and prepares to be a part of the experiment as well. He flips the switch to the device and electricity shoots through the two men and the cats.

27 #1 CoverThe next scene we see several different panels representing two different characters. The first is the Nine an entity that is associated with creativity and has been known to accept gifts in exchange for favors. The second entity is Erebus or Twenty-seven and he is the counter balance to the Nine; without each other neither one can exist. The Nine receives Hargrave’s gift and is ready to give Will his hand back, but Erebus is quick to point out that the energy is actually from cats and have been dressed up like caviar. The Nine instantly wants to kill them both, but then Erebus wouldn’t get any of that precious energy that’s been put into Will. Unsure with what to do with it then Erebus suggest that the Nine be creative with it.

Will wakes up in the warehouse the only one left in one piece. He aches all over as he wakes up and finds an apparatus that’s been installed in his chest. It looks like a mini-amplifier and has all sorts of knobs on it. Before leaving Will calls the cops to let them know that a man has died in the warehouse, that man being Hargrave. He doesn’t stick around for the cops and takes off home. His sister calls him freaking out about a hostage situation, but Will doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do about it. He tires playing to no prevail and figures what the hell and clicks on the device attached to his chest. Suddenly his hand doesn’t hurt and he feels perfect. He calls his agent and tells him he can play again and continues playing with the feeling of happiness that has been absent for year.

After a while his hand tweeks out again and he can’t play anymore without server pain like before. He laches out in anger and destroys his TV. With the shattered glass he finds himself making a sculpture.  After finishing the sculpture he clicks the button three more times in complete and total anger; until the ghost of Hargrave appears before him telling him to stop.

This comic is one of those rare occurrences that comes along every few years and is just magical. The concept and execution of this book are phenomenal and even though I didn’t buy into the hype of it selling out, I do believe that it’s worth of all the praise and high sales it’s received since. The comic itself is in the magazine stock that Image has become found of with other books like Cowboy Ninja Viking and ironically enough also Viking which is a different series.

27 #1 2nd Print CoverWhen you boil down the story it’s a musician that’s talented, but needs his talent back. He makes a deal and now might not live past twenty-seven like several other great musicians. At first glance the idea actually sounds pretty stupid, but then most things do. Take Fantastic Four for example, space travelers become exposed to cosmic radiation and then begin exploring the world defeating evil. If you didn’t know better you would never pick up that book. With Twenty-Seven this simple concept becomes unique and amazing in the world of comics.

What really drives the story and makes it interesting is the narration from Will. The way he recaps his life and the events leading up to everything is so short and clean that you linger on his every word. Nothing he tells you is irrelevant or boring, but a fascinating view into his world. Writer Charles Soule does extensive research to make sure that this book is very realistic and accurate. He flexes his music knowledge throughout the series and does a great job of laying the ground work in this first issue.

I will say that ninety percent of people will instantly hate the art. Personally I love the style, but could have done with a bit more consistency with Will. He’s really the only character that comes across as being all over the place. The penciling consists of thick lines and looks very graffiti/cartoony. Yet it is a very dark looking book with a lot of ink work and black surrounding each page. Artist Renzo Podesta is a great colorist and that is what makes his art great. Several panels have a color theme that is only in that panel, but works to make the scene powerful and beautiful to look at. Renzo’s panel set up is also quite powerful as he uses close ups to express the intensity of a scene, then a long shot to establish a conversation that runs through the splash page. Again, a lot of people will be put off by the art, but it’s really good and works with the story and that’s the important thing.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a first print of this book in an actual comic shop. You may be able to find a second print, but even then you’re probably better off checking the internet. There’s a reason that this book is hard to find, it’s super surprisingly good. I think that a lot of people heard about the concept and thought that’s cute, but then after they read it they saw just how incredible it really is. Is it perfect? No, but it’s damn close and definitely worthy of the score.

Overall Score – 9.9/10



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