Posted tagged ‘Boom’

Review: The Unknown

May 19, 2010

The Unknown is the start of another high concept mystery series by editor-in-chief Mark Waid.  And much like Potter’s Field, which I reviewed last week, it’s a great idea for a series, that’s just in need of a slightly greater case to make it work, hopefully in the inevitable volume 2.

The Unknown focusing on Cat Allingham, a Sherlock Holmes by way of Warren Ellis figure with an insatiable need to prove how the world functions.  Only problem is she has an inoperable brain tumor that will kill her within six months, and which is tormenting her with constant hallucination, making her deductive skills useless.  Thus she is forced to rely on James Doyle, an ex-bouncer with a knack for picking up on the tells of those around him.

This book chronicles their first case together, as well as the start of Cat’s obsession with investigating the possibility of an afterlife.  The object of their case is a scale developed by a pair of quantum physicists that may be precise enough to measure the existence of the soul.

The story doesn’t really provide any answers however, which shouldn’t really be surprising given the title.  This proves to be a mystery story about mysteries and not about solving them, which is an approach I like a great deal.  All in all a decent start to this series and I expect great things in the future.

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Review: Potter’s Field

May 11, 2010

Potter’s Field is the coolest idea for a crime story I’ve come across in a while.  The title refers to the cemetery in New York used for unidentified bodies, and it fills up with around 125 corpses a week according to the intro.  Enter John Doe, a vigilante detective whose determined to give each grave its proper name, and more often than not resolve a few loose ends from their lives.

It’s the best thing I’ve seen from Mark Waid in ages, and it’s really nice to return to the mystery genre, which he hasn’t really touched on since his days at Crossgen (unless you count his Elongated Man bits from 52).  And being a big ideas sort of writer, Waid writes fairly unique crime stories that focus squarely on those ideas.  

Potter’s Field works well for that, but Waid does lay it on a bit thick at time.  Besides having a protagonist named John Doe, there are also cases here involving identical twins and identity thieves.  I’m hoping as he tells more stories with this character he’ll stop adhering to his theme so strongly.  But either way, this is a very promising start.