Review by Jerome Maida
“She’s back? That’s excellent! Excellent!”
So says a character upon learning about the return of Alice Hotwire in the first issue of Radical’s new “Hotwire: Deep Cut,” and it’s a sentiment being shared by comic fans across the country reveling in a new adventure starring everyone’s favorite exorcist.
Comics Guy has been waiting for some time for a new tale featuring the rising star with the pale skin and peroxide hair co-created by Warren Ellis and Steve Pugh, especially considering Pugh’s inspired writing and art on her debut series.
Is “Deep Cut” worth the wait? Absolutely.
For the uninitiated, and those whose memories are foggy, Pugh gives readers the lowdown on Hotwire and recaps her initial comic tale in two sparse pages then dives right into her new adventure, packing action and intrigue into every panel.
The irony of an exorcist who doesn’t believe in ghosts is only the most delicious twist of many in the book, which again takes place in a future where the dead have stopped departing the earth and have been transformed into “blue lights”-ghosts that drift into cities all over the world and graze off electromagnetic waste, one of several subtle commentaries on contemporary society.
Another is that suppressor towers have been built to keep them out of good neighborhoods. However, the increasing EM waste has caused more of them to become powerful enough to cause real problems, leaving Hotwire responsible for keeping the peace between the jealous dead and ungrateful living.
As we saw in the last series, it is a mission that almost got her killed, when she saved the life of every cop in the city and got half her face and an armed burned off doing so.
As “Deep Cut” opens, it is six months later and the normally arrogant and cocky Hotwire has recovered physically but not emotionally. Pugh puts a new spin on the cliche of her seeking solace with an old, bad boyfriend, with whom she drowns both her sorrows and intellect in booze.
It is with this introduction that Pugh gives us more background on Hotwire that adds depth to her character. Seems she spent most of her young life determined not to let her brilliance go to waste, and was home-schooled and hothoused by not only her genius parents, but also a community of scientists and hackers.
So, when tragedy struck and she lost her mother, she decided to hit the big city and go from Alberta Einstein to Lindsay Lohan, using drugs to intentionally drop her IQ from over 135 to the low 70s, dancing till she dropped, drinking till she could no longer find her mouth with the glass and finding bliss in ignorance – a strong commentary on the anti-intellectualism and fear of success prevalent in much of our society.
Right before the incident that would set her on the path to detox and reclaiming her intelligence and purpose in life, her boyfriend said, “No one wants lil’ miss smart and bitchy back.”
Oh, yes we do.
In the present, the incident that snaps her out of a months-long funk is caused by police on a rampage who accidentally wipe out the “collision avoidance networking.” In the future, all cars are computerized to prevent crashes. But what happens when that technology fails? The answer is not pretty.
Toss in the fact that Hotwire is still drunk when she enters the fray, that the cops she is assisting hate brainiacs and that the incident has created scores of new blue lights, and what could possibly go wrong?
“Hotwire: Deep Cut” has a great character, brilliant concepts, energetic action sequences and awesome art. It gets Comics Guy’s highest possible recommendation.
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