Ah, there is nothing like a little town in the forest green of America that screams conspiracy. From small towns with “their own way of doing things” as seen in The Prisoner, to secrets hidden in X-Files all the way to the weird and the quirky of Eerie, Indiana and Twin Peaks, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as trying to survive within the town boundaries.
Edens Fall is a town of this ilk, ran by a nearly husband killer of a mayor in Laura Shiffron, whose husband founded the town as an off the grid haven for criminals, to help them either escape the outside world or to set up a new identity. Laura has a new resident in the shape of the Thornton, a right-wing extremist who blew up some churches and tried to pass the blame onto Muslim extremists. However, those who were tracking Thornton haven’t given up. We have a by the book old-timer, a young up and comer, a female hacker and a Darpa level type who gets his kick by ticking of the same government who pays him.
So with the table set, on to the main course. Infiltration is the key as the good guys come up with a plan to get one of them into Edens and then onto the trial of Thornton. Along the way, subplots are hinted at in, at times, a heavy handed manner , with the dialogue around these parts sounding clichéd and a little trite. The story itself, isn’t anything particularly new. I would go as far as to say that you may have probably read something like this quite recently. However writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill take their composite parts and make them interesting. Part of this is the environment itself. As a reader, you learn about the town at the same speed as the characters, meaning that the shock of discoveries are increased. Sure, there is a love triangle and sure there is a declaration of love that pretty much screams something is going to go wrong, but in all honesty – something has to go wrong! It would be a pretty boring story if the big plan worked right out off the bat.
Atillio Rojo may be a name you recognise from his work on IDW’s Transformers comics. Not being a big Robots in Disguise fan, Rojo’s work has mainly escaped my view. At first glance, I wasn’t that impressed. Faces had a square look with lots of straight lines, which may have been a hangover from Autobots and Decepticons, But after the introduction, the art becomes softer, more emotive and dare I say, more human? With this being a step down from a superhero book, the art doesn’t need to be dynamic; it does need to be able to tell the story and convey the various emotions that the characters should be feeling. If that is the measure of success, then Rojo certainly achieves it. Colors for the dark tale of crime, corruption and cops is K. Michael Russell who does a fine job, especially with the darkness that seems to pervade the whole story.
This book is a crime noir type of book that I didn’t think I was going to like. The tropes in play are reminiscent of other stories from across all four corners of the media market. So it is to the credit to all involved, that I actually found myself rooting for Samantha and James; that I was wary of the plan and even worried by the cliff hanger ending. Good work in converting a non believer.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art -3.5 Stars
Color – 4 Stars
Story By: Matt Hawkins
Story By: Bryan Hill
Art By: Atilio Rojo