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September 21, 2011

Image Comics: Blue Estate vol. 1 TPB

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Written by: AHudson
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Title: Blue Estate Volume One
Writers: Original Story: Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev/Script: Andrew Osborne
Artists: Viktor Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robert Valley, and Paul Maybury
Cover: Viktor Kalvachev

Blue Estate Volume One In the modern era of comic books where crime noirs are a dime a dozen, the competition is tough. With so many new good titles like Criminal, or even far out concepts like Footprints, it’s tough to decide where to spend your hard earned cash. You know you want a good comic that stands out and grabs you by the coat and drags you into a red lit city. Fortunately, there’s Blue Estate, which is all that and a little more.

What first pulls you into Blue Estate is its Tinseltown gone wrong background. Hollywood mired in a world of sex, drugs, and sleaze. This isn’t a black and white kind of story. Rather, this is a black and gray kind of story with few shades in between. It’s a dark and sleazy story, with no heroes or knights of the alleyways.

This dark tale could go horribly wrong. It could come off as too cynical, too snarky, and trying too hard to be edgy. Fortunately, Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev keep the story fresh with twists, turn, and surprises, unlike most black and gray detective stories. And big credit is also due for Andrew Osborne. His writing and dialog add one important element to Blue Estate. Humor. Dark, twisted humor, sure. But funny nonetheless. Also, he keeps the dialog fresh and natural. Gritty, but never over the top or trying to imitate “dialect.”

The art is something unique, too. If you like comic book artists such as Tim Sale, then you’ll definitely dig this. Viktor Kalvachev can switch the style from sleek and sexy to gritty and sketchy (including newspaper-like dots) and back again in a smooth, seamless flow. But it’s not just Kalvachev doing the art. Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robert Valley, and Paul Maybury all serve on board and lend a hand with their talents.

However, I will warn you. This book isn’t for everyone. Not because of the violence. Which there is, but it isn’t that bad if you read a good deal of modern comic books. But it is a story filled with bitter characters, and like any kind of humor, its black humor may not be for you (although I found quite a few chuckles).

Warnings aside, this is a really good book. I admit, when it first came out, I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Mostly due to the slew of crime comics already out on the stands, and not being sure if it was going to be one of those gritty stories with style but no substance. After finishing volume one, though, I can conclude that this one does stand out and certainly is worth your time if you’re looking for a dark, sexy read.

Andrew Hudson



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