REVIEW: “Uncanny: Seasons of Hungry Ghosts, Part One #1”

"Uncanny #1" (w) Andy Diggle (a) Dan Panosian (a) Aaron Campbell (c) Bill Crabtree (l) Simon Bowland Dynamite Comics, $3.99
“Uncanny #1”
(w) Andy Diggle
(a) Dan Panosian
(a) Aaron Campbell
(c) Bill Crabtree
(l) Simon Bowland
Dynamite Comics, $3.99

Genre mash-ups make narratives that much more interesting, and in the hands of talented creators it can make a single issue experience, especially an introductory one, an enjoyment. Writer Andy Diggle and artist Aaron Campbell provide such a favorable experience by fashioning the down on his luck grifter tale by spinning it with elements of crime fiction, James Bond action, and the slightly unexplainable manifested in a rather unique ability on the part of the protagonist Weaver.

The character of Weaver came across to me as a hybrid of Darwyn Cooke’s interpretation of Parker and the faceless and unidentifiable mob spook in the vein of Robert De Niro in Michael Mann’s crime opera Heat. These are characters that are not dynamic in appearance, but rather in substance, which is the point. In this issue Weaver is dressed in a white button up dress shirt accented by beige/brown jacket and pants. The theory here is that if ever asked by someone to be able to describe the person you saw, they can only be able to give the most generic of descriptions based on the clothes. Perhaps the old axiom is true—the clothes do indeed make the man, even if it makes them seem invisible. Diggle balances Weaver’s generic appearance with great inner monologue to show a man who is a little over confident, a bit unsure, and a bit humorously self-deprecating.

Diggle and Campbell provide a crisp paced story for Weaver to be enmeshed in, setting up in a short time a convincing world, a breakneck pace, and enough small nuggets of  verbal and visual information so that one does not feel lost. Bill Crabtree’s colors provide the right shades of night in outside sequences, never letting the shadows obscure action landscapes. Keen eyes will proabbly identify many elements of style here that belong in the same group of artists such as Sean Phillips (Criminal, Fatale, and who provides a variant cover for Uncanny), Matthew Southworth (Stumptown), and Michael Lark (who also has his own work in Lazarus this week, which you can read Josh’s review here ). I particularly enjoy this”noir” style that all of these artists have contributed to in the last decade or so in comics, and Campbell and Crabtree will hopefully continue to stretch their artistic abilities on this series if they remain for the long term. 

Uncanny: Seasons of Hungry Ghosts Part One is off to great start, but this is not surprising as Andy Diggle continues to put together a great body of comics writing that continues to evolve, vacillating from work on mainstays such as Superman, co-writing Thief of Thieves, story arcs for long standing science fiction with Doctor Who, and his self-propsed labor of love Snapshot with the always entertaining artist Jock. With that track record (and I haven’t mentioned everything, check out his bio for more) betting on Uncanny every month seems like a sure shot.