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Hotwire: Deep Cut #2 Earns A 9/10

Review by Holly von Winckel

Grade: 9

In contrast to the DecEx we met in Requiem for the Dead, this Alice Hotwire is actually pretty vulnerable, and it makes her a much stronger character. She’s still tremendously badass; don’t get me wrong, most of us would be doing well to have as much cool as she has in her little finger. But seeing her wallow in self-pity and doubt and maudlin regret goes a long way toward increasing the sympathetic nature of her character. I guess I know how the rest of her department was feeling.

Sympathetic characterization and inner demons notwithstanding, Hotwire still is confronted by a horde of baddies on both sides of the grave. There is the problem of escalating and powerful blue light attackers, along with the incendiary actions of the mercenary enforcers in the city. There are strains of social commentary to read into this, if a person were so inclined. The topic of hired strangers riding roughshod all over the delicate issues of the day is neither new, nor likely to lose its poignancy over time. Although Rantz looks to be the obvious source of making bad things worse, I find myself reserving judgment. Perhaps he could be the secret source of salvation at the end, assuming he doesn’t come to his own particularly sticky and unwholesome end first.

Deep Cut #2 is a good read, and if I had one complaint with it, I’d say it goes too fast. It’s got definite re-read value, and it’s gorgeous just to look at – Alice’s facial expressions sometimes tell the whole story. Mobey’s personality has come into its own a bit, and the blues have a lot more presence this time. They are not simply mysterious enemies to be sorted out. They are characters, with motivations and purposes, and goals, and they are not so very different from anyone else’s.

With all the special effects tech available to film makers these days, it would be kind of an obvious move to make this into a film. I think it might actually lose some of the thrill that way, because it would then inevitably become about the effects. That would be a mistake.

Although Steve Pugh’s art is outstanding in providing the reader with fantastic and horrific images, this series is as much about the character development as it is about the eye candy. I know that Hotwire needs to stop Rantz using Soul Eater every chance he gets, but I also know she’ll need to master her own self-destructive urges. That’s not something easily rendered in CGI.

This series is going to appeal to fans of the supernatural, sci-fi, high tech, paranormal police work, and badass women who can bring the noise. It’s definitely not going to work for those who get nightmares thinking about life after death (or variants thereof), human bodies in various states of disrepair roaming around, and badass women who can bring the noise. Oh, and if you ever needed to know the winning strategy for Pac Man, and couldn’t work it out on your own, this is worth the price of admission just for that.

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