When you want weird, deep, and insightful comics, you can never go wrong with Jeff Lemire.
I’ve been a fan of Lemire’s work for a while. Descender, Ascender, The Black Hammer Universe, and many, many other strange and wonderful worlds have all been birthed into being because of Lemire’s particular brand of creative genius. Lemire has an admiration for cosmic stories that I honestly don’t think we’ve seen on the page since the work of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and I am here for that.
Matt Kindt is another favorite of mine, especially his mind bending work on series like Bang! and my recent favorite BRZRKR. Kindt specializes in spy and detective stories, expertly weaving deception, intrigue, and action together to create some of the best modern masterpiece in the genre.
So take these two superstar creatives and add in amazing art of David Rubin, and you get one of the wildest, craziest, and most entertaining graphic novels I have read in a long, long time!
This week we’re looking at Cosmic Detective, a book that is as challenging as it is thought provoking, a book with no easy answers and madness around every corner.
Enough hype, let’s get to the review!
Here’s the blurb:
New York Times-bestselling writers JEFF LEMIRE (GIDEON FALLS, DESCENDER), MATT KINDT (BANG!, MIND MGMT), and internationally acclaimed artist DAVID RUBÍN (ETHER, BEOWULF) unite on this original graphic novel, COSMIC DETECTIVE. An epic science fiction mystery that asks: when a God is murdered, who solves the crime? Enter our Detective. The murder of a god threatens to tear apart the very fabric of our reality. Only our detective stands in the way of utter destruction. But will the mystery he uncovers be worse than the disaster he’s trying to avert? And will his mind crack under the revelations he’s about to uncover before he can do anything about it?
Alright, before I start this review, I need to start with this really important question: Why have I never heard of this book before yesterday?
I mean, seriously? I know this book started as a Kickstarter project, but these are big name creatives working on this book and I literally review indie comics and yet this book has not been on my radar anywhere.
I know I’m showing my age, but I really miss Wizard Magazine. I know that the publishers put out press releases on their websites that get picked up by blogs and other online influencers, but for the more casual reader of comics this is a book that isn’t going to really be on your radar, and because it is being released as a single graphic novel it might not even be on the regular shelves in you local shop, and could be easy to miss.
Cosmic Detective is not a book that your average Wolverine and Batman fan is going to see, let alone grab, and that’s a shame. It needs more press and it needs more attention, and it’s up to me to do it!
Alright, enough self aggrandizing, let’s get to the review.
There is a lot to love in Cosmic Detective. The mix of Kirby-esque cosmic forces and a dark, noir world will definitely remind you of works like Blade Runner and Dark City (Did anyone but me and Roger Ebert see that film?) Cosmic horror and noir fit together so well I am honestly surprised that there are not more books like this on the shelf. Detective stories in general need more attention in comics. It’s a media that is uniquely suited to that style of storytelling, and this story is the perfect example of why.
See, a detective story is all about clues and evidence, picking up on things that a less careful reader might miss. In a novel, everything has to be explained to you, all the evidence described in detail so you can’t miss it. In a movie or TV series the evidence will flash by in an instance, and to make sure you don’t miss it they sometimes have to literally hang on an image just to let you know how important a detail is.
But in comics, well, in a comic you can hide the clues, drop them in the story in the background, leave images for the reader to figure out. That’s why comics work so well. It’s a visual media that can be read and studied and gone back to in a way that others cannot, and that’s why I love books like this. Rubin’s art is full of so many secrets are in each image that this book could be read a dozen times and I still don’t think you’d catch everything.
The blending of the Sci-Fi cosmic with the everyday mundane is a big part of what makes Cosmic Detective work. Each page has something new and strange on it, while also weaving a classic noir storyline of solving a murder and finding a girl. It a balancing act that is hard to pull off, but Lemire and Kindt manage it with expert ease.
And like all good noir (as well as cosmic horror) there is never a moment of ease for the reader. There is always the sense that things are not right, and that they are going to keep getting worse, with even the revelations at the end and the conclusion not brining any real satisfaction and only leading to more unease and apprehension.
And that’s why this book is so great. I like my comics weird and unnerving, and Cosmic Detective hits the spot.
A masterful blend of cosmic horror and detective noir, Cosmic Detective should definitely be on your pull. Since it is a GN your LCS might only order a few, so if you want one make sure you let them know now so you don’t miss out on this book!
Until next time, Stay Safe.