This new book from 451 looks to set up a female protagonist, in a nearly future environment, working the sort of “off the books” policing that would cause even the most vigilante-loving police commissioner to take a hard look at. True, this particular protagonist called Emma, is doing for the credits. Yes sir, Emma is a bounty hunter, with a contact on the force, she seeks out the biggest of the bads, the hardest of the jobs gaining a bit of a reputation in the process.
This book is written by David Barron who seems to have taken a leaf from I, Robot inasmuch as Emma and all her targets are some sort of tech enhanced humans. This sort of thing is pretty standard fare; you will have seen it all over the place; so Barron has to work twice as hard to make this book stand out. For the most part, he does well. There is more to Emma that meets the eye, there was no doubt a level of trauma involved that caused her current state. Hopefully that element will play out over the next few issues. Script wise, there is dialogue and a monologue, both work well, with the monologue casting a shadowing of Emma’s actions along with an inherent sadness. I am looking forward to seeing her next steps and learning about her past. In that regard, Barron has done his job.
The art by Yusuf Idris also works well with variety of panel structure accentuating the action pieces as well as depicting movement through the quieter parts of the story. At times it seems that different ink styles are on show, some are heaver than others in way that reminds me of David Finch’s current work on Batman. Maybe the level of consistency isn’t there; Emma’s nose for example goes through some changes as does her face to some extent, but its a quality showing for this up and coming artist. The only other thing that stood out was the window crashing scene, from the outside some of the windows were already out, yet as Emma crashed through, the glass was back in the frame. A small point I know, but it distracted me enough to cause a mention. Colors are Barron’s day job and he does a great job in this book, with a dark, heavy look that pretty much matches Emma’s persona throughout.
Despite its obvious influences and trope-esque elements, Stained is an entertaining read with a lead that is just interesting enough to pique my curiosity.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3.5 Stars
Colors -3.5 Stars
In Shops: May 03, 2017