Review by “Mr. Pasty” at Ain’t It Cool News
I know a lot of creators talk the talk, but Pugh also walks the walk, which is why we were fortunate enough to see Alice return for the DEEP CUT miniseries that wraps up with #3 from Radical Comics.
For the un-initiated, Alice Hotwire, Detective Exorcist, is the kind of girl you might mistake for the lead jammer in a women’s roller derby league. Sexy and sardonic, Alice has apparently fallen down a cybernetic rabbit hole where she has to navigate through a population of ghosts, machines, ghosts in the machine and just about everything else under the “WTF?” category that you might expect from the mind of Pugh. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, HOTWIRE isn’t exactly BEETLE BAILEY. If you’re thirsty for comics and want something quick to wash it down or just do some animated shots at the local rag shop, you might want to leave this one for the heavy drinkers. DEEP CUT isn’t necessarily a long read, but it’s not something you can flip through in the parking lot while your wife runs into CVS. There’s a lot going on in here and some of it is just so fucking bizarre you have to take a break and go back to fully appreciate it.
Having said that, it’s also refreshingly genuine. Pugh puts all his eggs in one basket by serving as both writer and illustrator and at least in my experience, it doesn’t always work as well as the creator might think. That’s not a knock on whoever you just thought of but rarely you get creative ambidexterity in this industry. Since two successful HOTWIRE efforts rules out the “one-hit wonder” argument, it’s safe to say Pugh is the exception to the rule. As chaotic as the pacing is, the story is fairly simplistic, which is why I think the narrative the works so well. Strip away the blue-light ghosts, the gorgeous artwork and the zany characters and at its core you have a “stop the bad guys and save the day” type of story. Fine by me.
There’s a lot to see and do in HOTWIRE and issue #3 is also saddled with the responsibility of landing the plane without losing any passengers. I’m happy to report that I’m still on board and ready for another trip. DEEP CUT is an unusual journey through the mind of an unusual artist, who not only gives you a guided tour of his strange and eclectic universe, but also a hot-ass tour guide to show you his beautifully realized and consistently rewarding comic book. More please.