Something that’s fascinating to me about comics is there’s no telling how involved the artist is in the writing. Recently I’ve noticed Image Comics has listed the artist equally with the writer, which makes me wonder if one writes dialogue and another plot or what. It’s odd to even think the artist isn’t involved in the writing since the visuals may be coming completely from the artist. In other cases the writer is delivering exactly what they want in regards to the visuals, like a director might to his cinematographer, but more often than not they get all the credit for the shots.
A great example of this question being tested is IDW’s Miami Vice comic. The art is insane and awesome and dictates the story so strongly I wonder how much credit writer Joe Casey deserves. A suppose a “story by” credit means a little less, so the answer is right there, but is it good?
Miami Vice: Remix #4 (IDW Publishing)
This appears to be the penultimate issue to the this story which is about two undercover detectives named Ricardo Rico Tubbs and James Sonny Crockett on a drugs case. This isn’t any drug though, but a new one created by a voodoo doctor that turns people into mindless zombies. The story ebbs and flows with the character trying to crack the case like any police drama would, but has the added flair of the mystical drug and some incredible art by Jim Mahfood.
This issue focuses mostly on Lt. Martin Castillo taking on a whole house of goons to save his daughter. That means seven full pages of Castillo going nuts with a sword on some unsuspecting bad guys. It’s a fantastic action sequence which is gloriously chaotic. The remaining comic follows Tubbs escaping a hospital, the two detectives hitting the street to uncover where the drug lord is and of course biting off more than they can chew. The plot works well as it expresses the brotherhood of the detectives, delivers great action and portrays them as detectives first and not action heroes. Basically everything you’d want from a cop drama.
The art is once again the driving force behind every panel. I often wondered while reading this how this comic would play with a different artist and frankly it’s impossible to tell. The art is so strong and different I can’t imagine this comic in any other format. In fact I’d love to see another artist take these scripts and draw it in a more detailed and realistic way to see if it would be as strong. I’d guess not, because what artist can compete with a full page splash of our hero kicking in a door with a leg that’s four times larger than it should be? The law of physics don’t apply to Mahfood and thank god they don’t. The man’s style is brilliant and has so much energy and focus in its wild nature it’s like watching a controlled hurricane. It’s the epitome of controlled chaos and it’s a fantastic ride.
The fact that I doubt this comic would be half as good with another artist may be telling though. Is the story that great, are the characters that strong…or is it all riding on the an art style with so much flair the story looks fantastic because of it?
That’s a lot of blood.
Is It Good?
Why would you want to miss a good cop drama with art that’s the epitome of controlled chaos? Read it for its energy and wild art.