Old City Blues vol. 1
Publisher: Archaia Studios
Writer and Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis
B&W, HC – Coming in June 2011 (In Previews this month)
Have you ever decided to read something, only to find out it’s very different than you imagined? Well, for me, that’s about the sum of this book, Old City Blues. I wasn’t expecting anything really, from a standpoint of not knowing the author, or anything more than the solicit information, but this book definitely took me by surprise. Set in a future where Athens has been ravaged by a massive flood, only to be rebuilt even better than before, this gritty crime/mystery story immediately made me think of the movie Blade Runner; a young, cocky guy ready to shoot first and ask questions later, but is also a thinker, combined with aspects of sci-fi. The dark and dense tones of Old City Blues served it well during the scenes of action and dialog alike.
The book’s take on an apocalyptic/dystopian future is nothing new, but the way the characters work together makes it seem fresh. You have the gruff, older sergeant barking out orders to the younger cop. A special ops force that craves action, but also spends downtime together, pounding beer after a long shift. The book reads like a script to a movie or TV show from a major network; it really seems like something you’d come across on television while searching for a new favorite to set the DVR to. There was one other movie that this book reminded me of – Rising Sun. The Asian influence in that movie, as well as this book, is a huge part of what it’s about. The Asian company, Hayashi Corporation, has rebult the city, but now has a dead CEO on their hands. Strange thing is, they don’t seem to care about it. The police are baffled at the reaction, or lack thereof, by the remaining managers to the point of suspecting them of treachery…
Milonogiannis does a perfect job of utilizing the black and white format to give us this clouded and enigmatic look at a future where cyborgs and robots get the same treatment, or close to it, that a person would if they were murdered. That new idea was something I had a difficult time wrapping my head around, but it didn’t take away from the story at all, it just provoked thought on the matter. Page after page of basically two characters in black and white may sound a bit tedious, but it really wasn’t at all. The story moves at a very good pace, and won’t lose the reader. My only complaint is that on page twelve, the chief and Solano (the main character, and lead investigator) look out of a car window and there are two indistinct objects flying through the air. They remark about what they are, but again, you as the reader can’t make anything out, which was jarring. Other than that, the visuals fit this book like a glove. To be perfectly honest, this story would actually lose some of its charm if it wasn’t in black and white.
I personally think the book is more of a mature read, than teen+. Definitely a good bit of foul language and some adult themes are in Old City Blues. If you’re into this type of genre, though, definitely give this book a look. You’ll probably be surprised by the dark and gritty tone that is complimented with the main character’s free-spirited personality.
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