Comic Publishers

July 22, 2011

12-Gauge Reviews: I.C.E.: Immigration & Customs Enforcement #1

I.C.E.: Immigration & Customs Enforcement #1
Publisher: 12-Gauge Comics
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artists: Jose Holder & Brian Stelfreeze
Cover: Brian Stelfreeze

I.C.E. opens with a high speed car chase complete with explosions, bullets, and four badass agents enforcing the law five miles from the Mexican border. After that wraps they’re called to assist in on a case that involved the death of an undercover agent. Though Agent Cole Matai isn’t too happy with taking it, he and his team hit the streets to see if they can get any leads on who and what they’re dealing with. There’s also a back up story that focuses on Matai that reveals a little about the man, but leaves you wanting to know more.

At first glance I thought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had a comic out, and I picked this up with a cynical attitude ready to mock it. Then I saw it had nothing to do with the wrestler, and that one dollar cover price caught my eye and I figured, “Why not?” I’ve spent more on a “hot” title only to be let down, so at least if I didn’t like this story I was only out a dollar. Well, Wagner’s tale is worth more than the cover price, and I would have gladly paid $2.50 for what happened in this issue. I’d say halfway through the car chase sequence I was hooked. Wagner’s characters don’t come off as annoying caricatures of character types we’ve seen before, but individuals you wouldn’t mind getting to know about. They’re grounded even though the circumstances Wagner has placed them in seem a bit extreme, so this balance works here. The conference room scene is a great example of this, as it backs up why Cole is the guy in charge and he seems to be the moral compass of the group.

When it comes to the art Jose Holder has a kind of rough style that carries Wagner’s story quite well. Whether a car is blowing up or some guy is getting questioned, Holder gives you some great looking panels. A few did lack the detail that would keep the characters’ looks consistent, but there’s some good work here.

Wagner’s characters have great dialog, and from what I can tell this would work well as a cable TV cop drama. This issue does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s get you excited for the second one, so the creative team deserves kudos for succeeding in that. I’m pretty sure someone picked up a book that cost more than this and was pretty upset. Well, there’s no excuse not to give I.C.E. #1 a chance. It’s well written, well drawn, a full 25 pages of story, and it’s only one dollar!

Infinite Speech
infinitespeech@comicattack.net

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