Curt Pire’s second outing in his sci-fi action adventure is a solid yet middling effort at striking a new chord in the genre. For every story beat of note, there is an equally rote moment deserving of scrutiny. Obvious comparisons have been made to DC/Vertigo’s Constantine. Wyrd is a misanthropic alcoholic detective solving crimes tied to the fantastical and occult for a fee. Sound familiar? The assessments are warranted, but it would be unfair to approach the book with pessimism.
As an immortal, Wyrd longs for death’s sweet embrace; suicidal attempts and death-defying actions are par for the course to a man who has lost all faith in humanity. The issue is a mixed bag, with the main story of a singular goal (assassination) followed by a backup story equally as meek (handle a time-traveling city by any means necessary). Unfortunately, the backup story suffers greatly from its narrative and jarring artwork.
Opening the issue, immortal detective Wyrd is hired to remove a corrupt politician (is there any other kind in comics?) threatening to “endanger the international order.” How did this man obtain such power? By having his way with a pig in an occult ritual. Cut to a heavily defended villa and cue the murder.
The issue’s plot is relatively simple: Wyrd gets a contract, we are made aware of his mission through convenient exposition from a superior, and off we go. Banal to say the least. However, Wyrd’s character continues to be fleshed out through his actions. One scene in particular showcases both Wyrd’s tactical skill and unabashed brutality. One by one, mercenaries hired by the political dark arts user are taken out in gruesome fashion. Clearly, Wyrd has acquired his strategic prowess and combat expertise through some form of military training, but the most telling aspect of note is his complete lack of remorse.
With only two issues under its belt, Wyrd provides small glimpses into Wyrd’s past through a series of flashbacks. Wyrd was a married man with a pregnant wife during WWII; considering the contemporary setting and no mention of family, audiences are left connecting the dots. Readers couldn’t be faulted for being more interested in the slivers of back story than the present story at hand. Pires makes the decision to end the story with Wyrd’s head in front of a Warner Bros. like logo parodying Porky Pig, but instead uses the quip “That’s all for this month, Kids! Go FU%* yourself!”. That pretty much sums up the issue in one panel, not for the better.
If the goal of a good comic is to immerse readers in the story, then the opposite would be true of the backup story. Martoz’s art is so inexplicably brutal, it’s hard to imagine how the decision to tap him for the backup came about. The style would be more appropriate for a humorous story, or a scene meant to feel absurd rather than a tale intended to support the more somber main story.
For all its merits, Wyrd #2‘s approach of style over substance is lacking. There are traces of a quality story here, which may yet prove itself in future issues, but issue 2 isn’t it.