Review by Ray Tate
Alice Hotwire is a genius Detective Exorcist for the Metro PD. She accepts science. She does not believe in the supernatural. The “ghosts” that haunt the city are merely electromagnetic blue-lights that have yet to be fully explained. Although, she has already deduced patterns of behavior. It’s not really the supernatural that’s her worst enemy. It’s politics.
This issue picks up from the last. Alice saved Metro City from total destruction at the cost of her right arm. Fortunately, technology is such that she can grow a new one. Needless to say, somebody should shunt Babs Gordon to Metro City immediately.
The scene in which she grows a new arm occurs in a flashback that also introduces her partner Mobey’s wife Cassie and daughter Molly. The writing in this scene neatly divides the generations. Hotwire is in a class by herself, but Mobey’s daughter thinks the new partially formed arm is wicked cool. It’s implied that Cassie was horrified and already catalogued Hotwire as a bad influence on her daughter’s maturation. Mobey, of course, is in the middle.
Because of the new arm, part of Hotwire’s recuperation demands her play video games — hand-eye-coordination– but she hibernated in her room well past the recommended time. With a new powerful “ghost” on the loose, the MPD needs Alice back on duty. Eventually, Mobey gets through to her, but Hotwire isn’t a simple police procedural with jaw dropping painted artwork and “ghosts.”
Pugh brings in a competing force. Whereas the MPD genuinely want to keep the peace and learn about the blue-lights, the corporate contractors, similar in behavior to Blackwater, creates chaos and makes every situation worse. When Hotwire clashes with these security forces, the fun really begins. The incompetence of the group is stunning. If not for examples of ineptitude from their real life counterparts, their actions wouldn’t be remotely believable.
Pugh furthermore embraces a different universe, not just bits of it. He meshes advanced technology with the blunder of heavily armored cowboys and the mind of Alice Hotwire. He uses the environment he and Warren Ellis created to the fullest for a fantastic science-fiction adventure, funky cat helmet included.
Check out the review on Comics Bulletin by clicking on the cover image.