Review by Jason Rosas
Hotwire: Deep Cut is the sequel to the Steve Pugh and Warren Ellis created Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead. Deep Cut, also written and illustrated by Pugh, features Alice Hotwire, a Metro Police Detective Exorcist. Even if you did not read Requiem, Deep Cut #1 capably stands alone due to its heroine. Alice Hotwire is as infectiously engrossing a character as any we have witnessed in recent years. The brilliant, young, but incredibly damaged Hotwire is charged with keeping the peace between the living and the “blue-lights.” In the world created by Pugh and Ellis, the dead are no longer peacefully departing. Instead, the dead are taking up permanent residence in the world by feeding off of the electromagnetic residue from human technology. New technology was created to keep these ghosts separated from humans, but occasionally the ghosts are sufficiently powerful enough to disrupt the peace in society.
Deep Cut follows Hotwire six months after Requiem, as she has recovered from the injuries sustained in that story. Here we learn more about how Hotwire came to be an MPD Exorcist. After losing her mother as a teenager, Hotwire turns to drugs that numb her intellect and allow her to uninhibitedly mingle with “bad dogs.” As the title of issue #1 suggests, “Bad dogs get the wrench,” a deadly encounter with a blue-light ends this chapter in her life and she quickly rises through the ranks of MPD to Exorcist. Now, we realize that perhaps Hotwire has not outgrown her past indiscretions, and may be having trouble reconciling all the terrible things she has gone through in her young life. Pugh’s Hotwire is highly entertaining and complex-enough not to fall into a stereotyped brash, anti-authoritarian brat. Rather, Pugh skillfully injecting elements of melancholy and pain with conviction and self-confidence.
Hotwire’s narrative is entirely engrossing without the Deep Cut plot. However, this story is just as interesting in revealing evidence that blue-lights are evolving or interfacing with technology – granting them similar physical abilities to that of humans: kind of like ghost cyborgs. Moreover, Hotwire’s recent sabbatical has allowed ascension of a police faction that prefers more aggressive tactics against the blue-lights. Although publically reassuring, the “shoot-first” attitude is preventing scientists from examining blue-lighters, their evolution, and the potential future hazard to the living.
Hotwire: Deep Cut promises to be just as fun as its predecessor, Requiem. Alice Hotwire plays well to the Radical style of publishing miniseries. However, depending on your taste, you may find it difficult to sustain interest in this world after a few stories. Nevertheless, Hotwire: Deep Cut is hitting the ground running and appears to be a top-notch arsenal in Radical’s summer blitz.
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