On May 8th, Chin Music #1 hit the stands and Tony Harris fans erupted into geysers of blood and joy. Most recently famous for Ex Machina, the man has a style all his own, with photorealistic expressions but an incredibly robust skill at composition. Issue #2 hits the stands today and I’m here to answer the question, is it good?
Chin Music #2 (Image Comics)
Three months is a long time between issues, even I had to go back and read #1 to remember what the heck was going on. I’ll save you the time if you’re in a rush: A mysterious man is seen carving ruins into bullets, reaches out a window and pulls a trigger. He then recalls a sequence of moments he had in Egypt. Some ninja dudes chased him and turned his body into a skeleton. Then he was run over by a detective who helped him to the hospital. He disappeared. The issue ended with a mob boss getting his brains blown out. This issue opens on the same detective breaking down the scene of the crime.
Curiouser and curiouser…
You can tell writer Steve Niles is having a ball writing this series. There’s magic mixed in with a gumshoe and it’s all set pre-1950. You don’t normally see magic and ritualistic stuff going on with film noir-type material so it’s already got a nice shiny originality to that. Pair that with artist Tony Harris and you have yourself a goldmine of fresh faced comics. Anyone who complains about there being too many superhero books should shut their trap and read this book.
This issue has a lot less wonder than the first issue, but that’s because there’s less magic afoot as the story shifts its focus on the very unmagical human detective. We do however, get a better grasp of who the characters are. I will say though, things are moving quite fast, and by the last page I was wishing I knew these characters even better. Not to mention, the detective in this book seems to be totally cool with the fact that the skeleton he dragged off the road last issue is perfectly normal this issue. It rings a bit untrue, but that’s only because I don’t really know what their relationship was like prior to this issue. It seems they know each other, so maybe he’s used to the magic healing factor of his.
At this point there are more questions than answers, which is perfectly fine by me, especially considering it seems to have its roots set in the film noir genre. There’s a chance, then, that the story doesn’t have enough to satisfy the reader, but luckily Harris delivers. Big time.
There are pages in this book that are so gorgeous I could see them mounted on walls. One sequence sees a bunch of goons get gunned down and Harris stops at nothing to deliver intricate layouts and plenty of gory goodness. Also, who knew Harris could draw such sexy women! There’s a bit of nudity, but man does he draw a nicely curved woman.
Oh so beautiful layout.
- Prettiest layouts you’ll ever see
- Intriguing premise and characters
- Lots of questions unanswered, the most frustrating being the relationship between the protagonists
Obviously art can’t carry a book all the way, which is no slight on Niles, particularly because the story has no faults. It’s more due to the delivery and it feels a little too decompressed at this point to truly amaze. The story is unfolding nicely, but the fact that I’m at a loss for how the protagonists relate really dumbs down the ending of this issue.
Is It Good?
Yes indeed. As it stands I have faith this is going to be one memorable series.
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