Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Pigs #1

Co-written by former Marvel editor Nate Cosby and British expat (and Pittsburgh Steelers fan - w00t!) Ben McCool, Pigs is an espionage thriller about Cold Warriors who never stopped fighting the war. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, a KGB sleeper cell was tasked to the island nation. They never left. Now it's 70 years later and the original operatives are old men and women. And so the mission falls to their children. The sleeper cell has been activated, but by whom? Why now? What is their mission? And who, or what, is the mysterious "White Russian" they're searching for?

Cosby and McCool have crafted a tightly wound, ticking-time-bomb of a story perfect for fans of historical fiction and cloak-and-dagger spy stories. Draped in the shady underbelly of Cold War history and the modern climate of fear and terror America now finds itself in, Pigs looks to be an action-packed and politically subversive story. It reminds me of Andy Diggle's woefully underappreciated The Losers, and not just because of the evocative cover art by Jock. (Future issues will feature covers by Francesco Francavilla, Amanda Connor, Humberto Ramos, Ben Templesmith and Becky Cloonan.)

The interior art is handled by comic book newcomer Breno Tamura (with the superb Christopher Sotomayor on colors), whose understated style meshes perfectly with the story's dark and realistic tone. Tamura's characters are all wonderfully unique and the story transitions smoothly from one panel to the next, which is not always an easy task with such a dialogue-heavy book. It's difficult to make two people sitting in a room having a conversation visually interesting, but Tamura pulls it off with ease. His action sequences are also engaging and full of energy.

With its alt-Earth history and intricate spy games, Pigs will have you hooked even before you reach the shocking cliffhanger. The final page is just one last tease to whet your whistle for issue 2.

Pigs #1 is published by Image Comics and will be in stores on September 14. Be sure to pester your local comic shop for a copy.

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