While John Farman has impressed with his previous horror titles like School of the Damned & Royal Descent, his change of direction was always going to be one I’d jump at the chance to read and his latest title from Vital Publishing sees John team up with Jason Mathis to bring us covert comic Spies.
It opens with Agent John Turner whose calm exterior hides the trained agent underneath and a confrontation with some thugs looking for trouble ends badly for them. Leaving the train brings him into the hands of another agent though and it’s a slick opening from John.
The agency is a global entity though and we’re soon whisked away to see other agents throughout the world tackling their latest missions but as the precise actions of a well-oiled machine seem to play out as you’d expect, the past comes back to haunt those in charge. A past that’s steeped in double-cross & revenge and sparks a real interest in what’s going to happen next in this multi-layered tale and it feels like John is into a flow with each of the plots he’s untangling across the pages.
Those well paced plots are allowed to shine further through Jason’s art as his precise lines and smart use of panel layout & shadow pulls out the sinister edge of espionage and while while pairing that up with some impressive set-pieces that help bolster the tone of this first issue. John’s lettering work is a key part of the book too as the amount of narrative & dialogue in the book could well have overshadowed the story and been crammed in but it’s well-placed and feels like another element the creative team are in full control of.
Spies.1 manages to encapsulate a James Bond aesthetic in it’s espionage elements and mixes it with Jason Bourne action while steering clear of feeling like a re-hash of stories we’ve seen a million times before. Instead, it’s a modern & much-needed breathe of fresh air into the spy genre and even more of a success given it’s a new direction for John & Vital Publishing. An opening issue that’s smart & with a definite swagger to it gives us something to cling to and re-read while we wait for that second issue.
You can pick up a copy of this & the other Vital Publishing titles at this weekends Edinburgh Comic Con (15th/16h April). You can also keep tabs on everything Vital Publishing related on the website, Facebook & Twitter pages as well as the titles own Facebook page.