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WYRD Vol. 1 Review: Supernatural Espionage

Comic Books

WYRD Vol. 1 Review: Supernatural Espionage

All of your favorite comics mashed into one.

I could start this review with a cheesy intro or light-hearted comparison so that you’d get a sense of what type of book this is, but that doesn’t really work here because there are so many comparisons to make. WYRD is, for its benefit and detriment, a hodgepodge of all of your favorite comics rolled into one.  Right away, however, it’s clear that Pires, Fuso, Simeone, and Myers aren’t just doing this to be cheeky.  They’re too good at the craft for that and this feels very deliberate the entire time. They hook you in right away with a silent opening.  While there’s a lot of noise, it’s not through words but through visuals.  Fuso’s crisp, photo-realistic urban landscapes rendered over Simeone’s electric neon backgrounds coupled with simple and bold character designs provides all the audio you need.  For the most part in this book, the art is phenomenal — however, you will occasionally run into some inconsistencies where all black shapes or objects simply run together.  One notable example is early on when WYRD is falling out of a plane and his pants run together with the street below.

It’s an apt way to describe WYRD as a whole really, a marvelous mix of technique and genre with a few minor inconsistencies along the way.   On one hand, there are these Mortal Kombat fatality-style panels that show all of WYRD’s injuries as he incurs them.  They don’t matter long-term since he’ll heal anyways, but they’re jarring and pack a punch in the moment. At the same time, there are other sequences where there’s no clear panel order and it becomes a little confusing to read.  One particular page that comes to mind is a particularly dense moment that takes place as WYRD arrives in Crimea.  The sheer amount of word balloons combined with the awkward spacing between the panels makes for a relatively confusing moment.  That being said, you can always get a sense of what the team is going for, and it’s easy to pick up pretty quickly on what’s going on.  WYRD is immediately supposed to strike you as the John Constantine type, and Pires and Fuso do a great job making that clear.  There’s also a bit of Wolverine in there with “bub” replaced with “bastard.” Wyrd’s an assh*le.  You’re supposed to hate him, and you do, but he gets the job done so you hire him anyway.

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WYRD Vol. 1 Review: Supernatural Espionage

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Pires also does some really cool things with the writing here.  There are a lot of amazing prose moments.  Particularly when WYRD is about to fight, the dialogue between WYRD and the enemy is at a much higher and deeper level than you’d normally see.  In some ways it’s almost Shakespearean, and it makes you feel a bit more for these larger than life villains that you barely know.  This strategy is used quite often in WYRD, sometimes to a fault.  Pires and Fuso appear to use a combination of beautiful language and a crude but detailed style of line art to keep you invested in the moment with what’s going on, but by the end of the book, all of the characters except for WYRD himself are quite forgettable.  Even WYRD is too much of an assh*le for you to be completely on his side.  This lack of inherently meaningful characters means that WYRD might not stick with you much beyond after your read through.  You may feel for his desire today and root for him because of the pain he’s suffering, but it’s very hard to identify and empathize with WYRD as a character.

One thing to note is that this book’s overarching thread can get a bit convoluted at times.  Keeping track of a vague and downplayed thread across four issues must have been difficult, so reading this book in trade seems like it would be a much different experience. Overall, WYRD is a story with some very interesting and experimental craft elements that references and elevates all sorts of comics through its form, characters, and narrative, but ultimately, the lasting impression it might leave you with is the desire to reread those stories instead.

WYRD Vol. 1 Review: Supernatural Espionage
WYRD Vol. 1
Is it good?
WYRD is a story that experiments with the comic form while introducing a narrative that brilliantly or dangerously teeters the line between homage and trope, depending on how you look at it.
Fantastic art from Antonio Fuso and Stefano Simeone
Very interesting and beautiful use of language typically found in prose, and fighting choreography typically found in video games.
Was likely confusing to read in a single issue format.
The experimental or interesting form elements don't always fit together very well.

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