Just when you thought you’d read it all in the world of comics, writer Doug Wagner and artist Daniel Hillyard return with another bizarre serial killer tale guaranteed to make you question what the hell you just read. If you’re not familiar with their previous Image Comics series Plastic, it’s about a retired serial killer trying to rescue his girlfriend Virginia, who was a literal plastic doll. In the first entry of their newest book, Vinyl #1, we meet Walter. Walter is a psychotic killer who loves the sound of vinyl records and his best friend, a retired FBI agent named Dennis. But when a cult of female sunflower farmers kidnaps Dennis, well, that’s when the real fun begins.
As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Vinyl #1 recycles some of Plastic‘s ideas, and the result is another winner. From the beginning, the characters FBI agent Dennis and Walter are very likable. Dennis seems like your Danny Glover, Lethal Weapon, I’m-getting-too-old-for-this-sh*t type when we meet him. As for Walter, he kind of makes you feel like Doc Brown from Back to the Future — if Doc Brown was a homicidal maniac with an obsession with music. Together, the two of them equals an odd-couple adventure that’ll see Walter try to save a man he calls a best friend who hates his guts.
Vinyl #1 is a bloody good time from start to finish. Granted, the first few pages may be a bit confusing, but trust me when I tell you, by the time you get to the end and reread, it’ll start to make more sense. For the most part, the first issue does a fantastic job introducing both the protagonist and antagonist of the story. The book does an even better job at laying out the stakes, such as Dennis agreeing to go with a death cult in exchange for his daughter’s safety. Now that issue #1 has set the stage, it’ll be interesting to see how crazy and weird the story continues to get.
I’ve always admired the illustrations of Daniel Hillyard. His pencil work has a sharp and intelligent edge to it — his work is like if Tradd Moore and Ryan Ottley fused into one. His character designs have a very distinctive look to them, and he never leaves anything in the panel untouched. Further proof of this can be found by scouring any portion of the meet-up scenes between Dennis and Walter before Dennis is taken.
Vinyl #1 is an excellent first issue. I can’t wait to see the lengths that Walter will go to rescue Dennis and the dangers that await.
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