Rating: 5/5 – Extremely Strong Start from the creators of Powers!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
The creators of Powers, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming team up once again on another creator owned series from Marvel’s Icon imprint titled The United States of Murder Inc. It’s different from what we’ve seen from these two collaborate on in the past with series like the above mentioned Powers and Takio. Visually there are no capes and cowls, and the writing takes a serious tone throughout this double sized first issue. There’s a few things that you can come to expect from these two creators; real and engaging dialogue, stylized and vibrant art, but also missed deadlines and long delays between issues of their series. For now let’s focus on the positives, there are a lot.
Bendis and Oeming have stated that they’ve worked on the ideas and world building of this series for years and considering how well this first issue reads, I believe them. The premise of this series is strong and although we only get a glimpse into the world in this issue’s first forty pages, the presentation is enough to bring me back for more. The United States of Murder Inc. takes us through a United States that’s not run by the government, but by large organized crime families that never weakened after becoming so strong during the 1960’s. Bendis chooses to explore this world through main character Valentine Gallo. The issue opens with the day that Valentine becomes a made man. We’re introduced to members of his family, as well as him embarking on his first mission which doesn’t go exactly as planned. This first issue is well paced and tightly written, ending on a cliffhanger that I didn’t see coming which sets the tone for what this series will be all about.
Michael Avon Oeming’s art is similar to what has been seen with his work on Powers, but his lines look just a bit heavier with what feels like darker shadows and blacks. There’s a wide array of colors used throughout as colorist Taki Soma uses pronounced color themes to distinguish the different environments and characters. If you were to quickly flip through the book you wouldn’t notice any similar colors at first glance, but after reading, you start to see consistencies in the characters such as hitwoman Jagger Rose whose red clothes and hair stand out on the page.
This first issue absolutely delivers on what you expect from this creative team. Stellar art matching outstanding writing that provides a complete package in the same way the first issue of Powers delivered years ago. These creators are also known for long delays between issues. Hopefully we see don’t see those delays here and get a good start to this series without losing momentum. Bendis and Oeming look to have yet another hit on their hands and I want to see more soon.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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