Review by Dan Stein
I love comics. They are a perfect way to capture the imagination and deliver a portable movie directly to your brain. The ability to pair terrific story with awesome artwork makes it possible for merely an author and an artist to write, film, edit, and produce and entire movie on less than 30 pages. Steven Pugh and Warren Ellis manage to do this flawlessly in their sci-fi series “Hotwire: Deep Cut.” The following is a review of the second issue in a three part series, “My Name is Bertus.”
Hotwire is a story about a detective exorcist in charge of ethically disposing of “blues.” Blues are ghost spirits that are lingering around cities and causing problems between the “ungrateful living and the jealous dead.” They function as electric impulses that exist in a sort of technological purgatory. Detective Hotwire’s job is to make sure that tensions between the living and dead to not escalate.
The comic begins with a brief overview of exactly what is going on in this alternate reality, most of which was covered in issue one. After that, we are plunged directly into the heat of the story as a living dead girl walks away from the car she just rolled on the side of the highway. We are then treated to a story about this girl, how she lived, why she died, and how she is getting along now that she is dead.
While she is wandering around with a “kill-bot,” Hotwire is trying to track her down before she gets permanently killed. We are treated to many trials Hotwire goes through, including a skirmish with her blue boyfriend, who she ends up killing by throwing him out her apartment window. She then chastises her watchdog, a stuffed bear to whom she has granted superior A.I., and is on her way back to the office to continue her blue-hunting responsibilities.
Every single panel has an excellent contrast of colors, incredible realism, and an incredible intertwining of speech, sound effects and action with background. Pugh is able to intricately paint a portrait of exactly what he sees in his head and offer it to us as an accurate representation of exactly what you would imagine when reading this story. The layout of the panels and the artwork in them creates a steady flow of action that greatly improves the overall story.
The comic ends ambiguously, leaving you wanting more from issue three. Overall, this story is terrific. Although I did not get to read the first issue, the second is compelling enough to make me want to go back and read the first and go on to read the last. I would highly recommend this comic to anyone who is interested in sci-fi and the afterlife.
Be sure to check out Radical Publishing for more comics like this.