Spy Island takes us back to the ‘70s when funky espionage was overtaking cinema. There is a reason why Austin Powers did a parody of this genre nearly two decades later. Spy Island follows the same genre, and it’s just as weird and psychedelic as everything else from that era.
Written by Chelsea Cain and Lia Miternique, with illustrations by Elise Mccall, this femme fatale trio brings us right into the Bermuda Triangle. The story plays on fantasy tropes while still maintaining the general feel of being an espionage tale. We don’t know much about our hero, other than she is tired is old spy tropes. The writers purposely keep her story vague, as any spy would want it.
The Bermuda Triangle houses many spies who seem to be in between jobs. You can’t find the Bermuda Triangle, just like how you can’t find spies. It’s brilliant.
The way spies are portrayed in this comic book is fantastic. Our main heroine wanders into a charity event, and after stating that she can handle all the gory and violent lifestyles of being a spy, the one thing she is not prepared for all of the fundraisers.
“They don’t tell you about the fundraisers in spy school. The don’t say, hey, most of your job will be gathering information from drunk jackasses at tax-deductible parties. The next time you’re at a fundraiser, take a look around. Half the people there? Spies.”
This is also where the mysticism of Spy Island drops into the story: The fundraiser is for the protection of Mermaids. This comes hot off a speech about alien time bandits, ghost captains, and radioactive sea lab sludge. It is playing right into all of the tropes of some far more fantastical spy stories.
One of things I need mention about this story is the art. It paints a very specific tone. It is spot-on ‘70s spy films, right down to the interlude where a panel just says “SEX” before going to the next scene, without showing anything at all. As a film guy, I really appreciated the level of work that had gone into illustrating this specific kind of genre.
I am not going to say anything about the ending, but it certainly flips the script of this first issue upside down. I am excited to see more of this series, and honestly more people should be talking about it.