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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: The Private Eye: The Cloudburst Edition HC

 
The Private Eye HC cover
The Private Eye HC cover
The Private Eye HC cover

 
Overview
 

Story by: Brian K. Vaughan
 
Art by: Marcos Martin
 
Colors by: Muntsa Vicente
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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To sum it all up..

UNDERNEATH THE FAÇADE  Image Comics finally unleashes one of the most anticipated compilations/releases ever, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s science-fiction and suspense thriller, The Private Eye: The Cloudburst Edition HC. This is not just a mere compiled work, but this is a hardcover deluxe edition, and printed on its original form as what the creative team […]

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Posted November 30, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

The Private Eye HC cover
UNDERNEATH THE FAÇADE 

Image Comics finally unleashes one of the most anticipated compilations/releases ever, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s science-fiction and suspense thriller, The Private Eye: The Cloudburst Edition HC. This is not just a mere compiled work, but this is a hardcover deluxe edition, and printed on its original form as what the creative team truly envisions. This beautifully crafted masterpiece has all of the ten issues of the digitally formatted comics, more than twenty pages of additional features, like Brian’s original drafts, his correspondences with Martin and colorist Muntsa Vicente, some preliminary artworks by the main illustrator, and even a couple of page breakdowns and sketches of the possible future of Los Angeles City that centers on the grand vision of the equally brilliant minds of this great visual masterpiece.

As said, the setting is situated in the not-so-far future where the American society embraces secret identities as their new identifications or “normal”, while their natural or physiological faces are the most precious and/or prized possessions. Moreover, the media itself becomes more powerful and influential more than ever; thus the society’s embrace of virtually everything shallow and/or pretentious. However, that is exactly the façade the writer likes to believe at first glance, for not everything is what it seems. The Private Eye marks another treat of witnessing Brian’s creative writing to new literary boundaries/levels/heights: noir, crime and suspense. True, he sets his eyes on the bleak future and nitpicking the current society’s continuing obsession of the showbiz and entertainment, and even capitalism. Yet, as the story starts to unravel as the titular cast is caught in the inescapable situation that ultimately leads to more nefarious and bigger picture than ever expected. From the exciting cat-and-mouse chase in the opening pages, then the intriguing world-building of the futuristic Los Angeles City, up to the dramatic and climatic parts that are executed only in pure BKV-esque finishing touches, The Private Eye is another evidence of the award-winning author’s expansion of his literary creativity. Indeed, Brian carefully sets his red herrings on the precise moments whenever the heightening and/or crucial parts are beginning to expose in the early chapters of this well-paced narrative. In addition, he applies some doses of police and detective procedural, fusing with his patented quirky and emotional human projections and interactions Vaughan readers and aficionados all familiar with. The latter chapters are slowly but surely emerged that lead to an ending that ultimately can make some readers ponder on and/or scratch their heads whether or otherwise the titular character shares the fates similar to the author’s beloved main characters in Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and Pride of Baghdad. He even puts some commentaries regarding personal freedom, terrorism, environmentalism and consumerism if one tries to reread this highly engaging graphic novel.

The Spanish artist Marcos Martin fulfills Vaughan’s vision through the former’s minimalist, clean lines, and excellent paneling sequential graphic interpretative approaches that blend well with the author’s equally brilliant wordings and literary rhythm and cadence. Martin’s illustrations are also very compact that his art style serves well in imagining finer and intricate details in each panel he draws/visualizes, making the futuristic Los Angeles more, but futuristic, realistic and feasible. His angular perspectives and close-up facial features are accurately projected to sheer realism, even in some dream-like state moments. And the masks the citizens are wearing are some of the co-creator’s best creative contributions that evoke the possible scenarios of identity, memory, reality, and more so, ideologies. The world-building of the City of Angels is aesthetically pleasing to the degree of presenting clear socio-economic-cultural stratification that denotes of failing to transcend humanity’s past mistakes and/or misfortunes. Furthermore, Martin manages to make his city more spacious despite the numerous popular culture and commercial-product placements references that are literally scattered all over. Munsta Vicente’s colors are equally significant in the overall illustrative quality of this one-of-the-kind visual gem for the given palates dictate the mood, ambiance, artistic integrity, and the extension of the creative team’s vision of a quasi-dystopian future. The violent and some disturbing imagery are done without much exaggerations at all, just as natural as possible.

This book has rated as a “mature” stuff due to the abovementioned unpleasant contents that are rather done for the story’s general integrity and direction. Shock values are not Vaughan’s cup of tea, but done with a legitimate way to emphasize the criticism he wants to comment on the present situations. And, this opus lacks a decent table of contents for a more accessible reading guide, particularly when stopping on a given page or a chapter. Performing as a devil’s advocate here, the realization of the book’s printed form is the masterstroke of Robert Kirkman’s persistence to the Private Eye team, especially Brian. So, why this one lacks a page by Kirkman himself on what were his thoughts about this series, and how he convinced Vaughan to do so, and other thoughts.

Regardless, The Private Eye is another testament of Brian’s ever continuing evolution as the writer of the medium, as he unafraid to experiment with some storytelling tropes of noir, police and detective, and undercover approaches, combining with his brand of comic narrative. The art is both astonishingly astounding and well-drawn to the point of presenting a possible futuristic scenario that has serious over-arching repercussions in many socio-cultural realms. Well-balanced in pacing, innovative on the possibilities of the near future; and brilliant collaborative effort by Vaughan, Martin and Vicente, this one holds your throat and grasping air for more. In short, this is one of the best graphic masterpieces yet!

The Private Eye: The Cloudburst Edition HC will be released this week at your nearest local comic book stores.


Norby Ela

 
FlipGeeks Operations Editor, Managing Editor of Comics, Komiks, Manga, atbp.


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