Hotwire

Mar. 15th, 2009 01:46 pm
slyjinks: (Default)
[personal profile] slyjinks
Some people may remember my reviews on the Radical Comics Caliber and Hercules, both titles which I enjoyed mightily. Well, now I've decided to give another of their titles a try. "Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead." The art is fantastic, which appears to be the norm for Radical, and I think its possible that some of you may recognize the author's name. Warren something-or-another, I dunno.

The setting is a near future Cyberpunkish big city setting with hints of horror, and the main character is a police detective exorcist.

Let me say that again: a police detective exorcist.

Now, those of you who know my love for cop characters with interesting twists or put in unusual settings no doubt realize why that appeals to me. While I tend to only be so-so on 'standard' cop stories (some are better than others), take a cop character and drop it in a medieval fantasy setting (Sam Vimes), or a superhero universe (Powers, Gotham Central), or something else along those lines? Suddenly I'm all over it. So a cyberpunk detective exorcist is pretty much right up my alley.

Alice Hotwire, the main character, declares herself to be obsessive about following the rules, although she appears to be perfectly content to take unfair advantage of gray areas and cases where the rules aren't very specific. For example, she's willing to go into a riot zone by herself, knowing that she'll be without back-up because the normal police have been pulled out of there, because there's no rule specifically forbidding her from going, but she goes in without a weapon because it's against the rules for exorcists to carry them. Hotwire believes that all real things, including the ghosts, or 'blue lights,' as they get called, follow some sorts of rules, and believing that she knows all the rules the blue-lights follow, she becomes very agitated when they seem to start breaking those rules. And that, really, is the start of the story, and the start of the mystery, so I won't go any further into that.

Hotwire also does some good old fashioned detective monologuing, although in her case its presented in the form of excerpts from her voice-entry personal blog. I'll transcribe an example, since it manages to provide a nice bit of exposition, helps explain the setting and the character, while giving a sample of the character's 'voice', all without deeply spoilering things.

Fifty years ago the dead stopped departing and the Blue-Light ghosts began drifting into cities all over the world.

Now we're ankle-deep in them. They graze off the electromagnetic waste of a billion wirelessly connected consumables. Most can only drift, witless and lost, in the foot-high electric smoke that hangs over the ground.

The suppressor towers keep them out of the good neighborhoods, and the ceramic tombs make sure our new dead stay buried.

So those that are left are barely noticed, kept in the shadows and the corners by our suppressor technology, they yammer and yip, out of sight, out of mind.

Some of them can manage a face and a sob story.

Some come back with enough marbles left to cause real trouble.

They're my problem. I keep the peace between the jealous dead and the ungrateful living...

-Alice Hotwire, Detective Exorcist


So in summary, I like it, I'll definitely be buying issue #2, and with 28 pages of beautifully colored art and only four pages of ads (five if you count the inside back cover) for $2.99, I recommend it to anyone with an interest in unusual setting cop stories or the Cyberpunk/dark near-future genre in general.

February 2012

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