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Blue Estate # 2 is out this week. It's set in a pulp/noir world with a big cast of characters all in one city. Like the film Alpha Dog, this is a world connected by the dark secrets each character possesses. It is a dark world of betrayal, drugs, prostitution, mobsters, police, comedy, secrets and Hollywood – in short it is a vast undertaking of themes and characters. The previous issue introduced us to the characters like the loser detective, mobsters and a fake Hollywood couple (the actor looks like Steven Seagal) and it was a great first issue, especially if you're into books by James Ellroy. With each introduction to a new character, the readers could see a connection to a bigger picture, like in The Wire.
What is unique about this book is the creative team. It looks like movie credits rather than a normal comic credit when you see the creative team consist of: Story by Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev; Script by Andrew Osborne; Artists Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robert Valley; and Art Direction by Viktor Kalvachev. Now the creative team works perfectly together and they work well in giving each character arc a different look so that readers won't get confused with the big cast of characters. At the same time, the art looks uniform so that it feels like one artist tackled the whole thing.
"The Rachel Situation" is the first story arc of this book and unlike the last issue, issue #2 actually deals with the Rachel Situation. Rachel has a problem; she is a drunk and her husband doesn't trust her with his secrets. In fact he hates her. This issue focuses solely on Rachel and her brother Billy. In this issue we see Rachel getting house arrested by her husband, but Rachel knows this guy named Johnny from AA (who looks like a hitman) and it seems that he might help her get out of this jam. Her brother Billy is trying to sell a property to a mobster, he has a stripper for a girlfriend. His girlfriend gets harassed by some men and then a mobster guy goes and beats the crap out of these men. That is pretty much what this issue is all about.
For a second issue, it doesn't have a strong hook to capture new readers. It's like they are thinking that no one new is going to pickup this book up at all. For a new book, they should focus on presenting stronger initial chapters instead of leaving open-ended plots. It's a good issue, if you have read the first one.
The art, dialogue, and story are great. Each have all the right ingredients for what could be a great crime novel or graphic novel. Like I said, in this issue they do address the Rachel Situation but none of the other characters appear in this episode. They do have a website with character bios and info on the comic, but the comic does not offer any of this. With multiple characters and a lot of things going on I'm surprised they didn't make this comic more reader friendly.
Also, this issue reads like a chapter from a prose book, where readers are already familiar with the previous chapter. That's great, but this is a comic; the readers have to wait for the other issue to come out, unlike a book where the chapter is accessible just by turning the page. This story would be great as a graphic novel rather than a monthly comic book. My advice is to wait for a couple of issues to come out, or wait for the graphic novel, so that you can enjoy this book the way it is supposed to be read. It's a great read and the creators are good storytellers and this could even work well as a movie, too. But for readers, this comic as single issues, well... It might be a bit of a hassle as they might need to be constantly reminded of what has happened by reading the previous issue or going to the website. If you like crime stories you might want to keep this book in mind.
Don't forget to check out Blue Estate's webpage which offers bios, sneak peeks, freebies and art galleries so that readers can get up to speed with the story.
Overall Score - 6.5/10
*Not for New Readers since this is a chapter of a bigger story*