Introducing Trine Hampstead, the woman who can answer any question you ask her, but can’t tell you HOW she knows it. She’s the Mystery Girl.
It is good?
Mystery Girl #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
In this first issue of a new series, we’re introduced to Trine Hampstead, London’s premiere (and only) sidewalk detective. She isn’t your usual private eye, though; she can answer any question you ask her.
Don’t ask her how she knows, though, because that’s the one question she can’t answer.
Across town, a dead man is lying on the floor of a hotel room as the man who shot him explains that he was paid to obtain the Weimar-Steinberg journals the dead man had in his briefcase. The shooter could have simply stolen the journals, but he enjoys shooting people and doesn’t mind people knowing this fact.
As the shooter leaves the hotel with said journals, Trine meets with a scientist who was waiting on the delivery of those very journals. She needs Trine’s help finding the location of a wooly mammoth carcass mentioned in those journals. Trine’s price for that info? Going along on the journey to the mammoth.
Is It Good?
I was immediately drawn in by the cover of this comic and the rest of the book totally lived up to the cover. The team of Paul Tobin (writer), Alberto Alburquerque (pencils) and Marissa Louise (colors) had me at the first page; they drop us straight into Trine’s world, and the ease that she deals with all different types of folks hooked me. Trine’s cool with everyone, as long as you respect her rules, and I love the way this book shows its diverse cast of characters without making a fuss about it. It feels like you are walking down a normal London street.
We got a solid intro to Trine as a character, the art working with the writing to show her past. A former punk, she still holds on to touches of her badass past with her multiple piercings and combat boots. Nothing seems to phase her, and she deals equally with a grieving wife and a concerned stripper. I also love that she knows her own mind, but can still be vulnerable, like in the scene with her boyfriend.
One of the things I liked best about this book is the tone. It’s got a great sense of playfulness, both in the writing, but especially in the art. Marissa Louise’s colors are bright and warm, inviting you in even in the gory scenes. The different angles and points of view that Alberto Alburqurque plays with make every panel interesting to look at. And I love the way he draws people – every body and face is unique, giving the book a realistic grounding even as he has fun with larger than life facial expressions and body postures. I spent a lot of time looking at all the details in the panels; each scene is intricate, but not distractingly busy.
Since this is a number one, there is a tiny bit of awkward world-building dialogue (the villain’s monologue about having mommy issues was a bit cute for me), but it’s doesn’t take away from the overall strength of the story. My one real complaint is that while most of the art in the book has a cheeky quality to it, there are a few moments of T&A that feel a bit gratuitous. There’s a panel where the scientist and Trine are talking, and the scientist is arguing with Trine. But rather than just have her arms spread in frustration, she’s leaning forward with her boobs and butt sticking out. It felt out of character for a scientist AND for the emotion of the moment.
Is It Good?
I really enjoyed this book; I’m hooked on the story and I’m especially taken with the art. A very solid intro into a new series and I can’t wait to read the next issue.
You can find this comic on December 2nd!