In the attempt to keep the people of Nuevas Vegas safe from super powered individuals, a device called the Nullorum has been created. This will negate their powers in public areas, creating a “safe” environment for regular humans. The event turns ugly real quick as a result of an assassination during the unveiling of this device. With public fear increasing, several young parahumans are kidnapped, and Spade is called in to solve the case. However, there’s much more going on here than anyone sees.
There are several story elements here that really help this title shine as Werner and Lutkins bring it all together in this first issue. The lead character, Spade, seems like your straightforward detective, but Werner lets you know that there’s more layers to the hero. He teases a mysterious past via a dream sequence that lays out a few more questions about him. The other characters that are introduced play their parts quite well, but the issue shines when focusing on Spade. This might just be due to the time spent on establishing his character, and there’s just enough that’s interesting to make you want to know more.
The story has a noir feel to it, though it’s more due to the artwork being in black and white along with some character designs. Spade’s trench coat and domino mask look has an old school feel, but it doesn’t seem out of place in this modern day story. There’s also Dice’s look, and though Werner gives him a more modern feel, I was distracted by how closely he resembled another vigilante’s sidekick. The bulk of the issue is visually strong as Werner moves the story along, though one of the standout panels has to be the snakes fighting for the one mouse. You feel for the little guy, but it looks pretty cool. The black and white tones heighten the intensity of the issue, and though the overall art style isn’t one that suits my tastes it does a very fine job moving the narrative along quite smoothly.
Now, even if you weren’t able to read the zero issue of Jack of Spades, Lutkins makes sure that you’re not lost. The events that are mentioned are recapped well enough to give you the gist of what happened. It’s a nice jumping in point and executes what a first issue is supposed to. That is just one of several reasons why you should give this issue a shot, and if the story stays this good, then many more beyond that.