The police/noir Control from Dynamite Entertainment has just been released. While you might be thinking Sin City, Frank Miller’s comic explored corruption and bad people doing bad things from a lawless point of view. Control is more police procedural, examining the underbelly of Washington D.C. through the eyes of policewoman Kate Burnham. It’s an interesting premise, but is it good?
Control #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Co-writer Andy Diggle has a good resume. Arrow: Year One, which was turned into the television show Arrow, and The Losers, which was made into a film, are only a couple of highlights for the British writer who has worked everywhere from DC and Marvel to independents. Teaming with his wife, Angela Cruickshank, to write the six issue run of Control is going to be another feather in his cap if the rest of the series fulfills the promise of the first.
The issue starts with some pretty standard cop back and forth dialogue that I was wary of at first. However, after this intro, which gives you a little background on Kate and her situation as a policewoman, the story kicks in and any worries I had about the slightly hokey and familiar dialogue proved to be unjustified. This is a police procedural, ala The Wire, drawn to life. I couldn’t help but feel most of the standard “cop show” scenes, such as the brow beating by the police chief or the sarcastic remarks by the other snarky detectives, were added in a deliberate manner. We’ve seen this before, but the writers know that, and dropping these kinds of standard scenes serve to set the tone for the readers’ expectations. You know the pulse of this story right away.
Speaking of tone, artist Andrea Mutti and colorist Vladimir Popov do an impressive and unique job with this issue. There are lots of washed out colors and a limited palette, but it helps to highlight the darkness of the panels and the story it’s telling. Particularly cool is how some of the blacks are used and almost look like they were done with a charcoal pencil around the edges. It’s very distinct and fits well.
As a complete package, both the art and story are used very well together to set a tone you don’t often find in comics. It’s not filled with over the top violence or sex (though there is some of both) the way some comics feel they need to do in order to be “adult.” It occupies a unique space with its style and tone. The first issue is a knowing introduction that looks to have a real shot to evolve into a great series.
Is It Good?
A compelling first issue. Hopefully there is more where this came from in the chapters to follow. Not just for someone who enjoys the genre, it both looks great and has a cool feel in both setting and plot. Like an HBO series in comic form.