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The issue begins with Sam showing up late to a crime scene. Sam is fat, smokes three packs a day, and showers less than that in a week. It's not unusual for him to be late, in fact his partner Twitch, expects it. Twitch is everything Sam is not. He's a family man; he's thorough and catches all of the details, but most of all he's bathed. The thing about their partnership is that even though they are the classic "Odd Couple", it has nothing to do with their friendship or interaction. Rather it is more of a statement of how others interact with them.
The "Vic", at the crime scene has been tied with his arms stretched out in nothing more than his underwear. His body has been carved on from the neck down. This is after all, the beginning of the Writer's story and establishing plot is very important. While Twitch gathers evidence Sam is assaulted by an Asian man in the hallway. It's clear that he has important information but he's unable to communicate it.
After wrapping up the crime scene the duo head back to the station. Due to the blizzard Sam has no one to translate for his witness, although he really could care less. Instead Sam recounts a story he heard at a bar. Again, Sam is always "professional." At this point the duo is partnered with Dr. Charlotte Garland, a Criminal Psychologist, with her interest of study just so happening to be... the written word. Now the three of them must fight a blizzard in order to stop a serial killer.
There's really only one thing wrong with this book, and that's the style of the word bubbles. The problem being is that there are no word bubbles. It's an interesting experiment that doesn't pan out. The fact is that it makes the book read like a transcript. This may have been tried due to the animated looking art style of the book. Unfortunately, the two combined make reading the issue like watching TV with the sound off while reading the script. Mostly the floating words line up with the person speaking but the breaks and pauses are lost when the characters speak off screen or on the phone.
Luca Blengino tells an unusual yet fitting story in the Spawn Universe. Sam and Twitch are easy enough characters to write for, but Blengino keeps the characters personalities while placing them into a fresh setting. Sam is at the focus of the story and as such speaks the most dialogs. Not all of it is interesting but it establishes him more as a character than anything else. Hopefully Blengino does something interesting with Dr. Garland, as the appearance of her character reeks of convenience. A killer that writes on his victims and a criminal psychologist that studies writing, it practically writes itself. Blengino would have you believe that the station is always in need of a Criminal Psychologist in such a field.
What really makes this book stand out is the art team: Luca Erbetta, Fabio Bono and Filippo Rizzu. Respectfully: Pencils, Ink and Color. The three put out a product that is worthy of being called animation. The art is very reminiscent of Pat Lee's work on Dark Minds. Whereas the floating word bubbles detract from the story they help the art to be free of distractions. You can look right through the words and see the detail and animated art style. Again it works to help the art but still fails the book overall.
There's really something unique about this book. It may not be amazing or wholly original, but it grabs you. It's not just the wonderful art either, there is something to the story, be it a basic serial killer premise. The idea of a serial killer telling a story on people is creepy yet fascinating. The biggest shocker for this issue is that it's the entire creative team's first issue in the world of comics. That's quiet the amazing feat to put out veteran caliber work on first issue making it worth the read, flaws and all.
Story – 8.0
Plot – 8.0
Art – 9.0
Ink – 9.5
Color – 9.0
Overall – 8.7