Harry French & Elliot Balson put their collective heads together to bring this new one-shot to life and having already enjoyed projects they’ve worked on before it was crying out “read me” at the top of it’s lungs.
It tells the story of freelance photographer Mark Payne as he gets ready to grab his next exclusive shot that firmly slots into the tabloid exploitation category but with a solid tip-off from a fame hungry “celebrity” there’s no way anything can go wrong. That is of course a big lie that Mark tells himself but as the moment unfolds and takes an unexpectedly gruesome turn it’s the beginning of an exceptionally dark time in his life.
While paparazzi already have a distinctly negative opinion attributed to them it’s only when we see how miserable his life is in general that we start to really get to grips with trying to balance the hate and pity that he evokes. Things spiral further out of control for Mark when the buyer for his photos wants to meet face to face and the confrontation that boils over brings us more surprises to get our head around. There’s a shadowy organization pulling strings in the background being hinted at and it looks like things are going to get more and more complicated for our central character with every age turn.
There’s a lot of reading in this issue and if it was any other title this would feel like an overwhelming factor but the dialogue is well planned and ends up building up a bit of a frenzy as we try to figure out just what the hell is going to happen next. Key to that intrigue is Harry’s characters as Mark himself is a damaged soul wrapped in a real struggle that’s equal parts bittersweet & vengeful as he desperately tries to make sense of it.
The art from Elliot Balson is packed with edgy energy that makes the events suitably uneasy for the main characters but constantly interesting for us the reader. That energy is kept on course with Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering that prevents things from stalling as events unfold before us.
This feels like one of the best one-shots I’ve read in a while, especially as it was full of surprises and intricate twists that kept me guessing and enthralled. Well-paced so as not to feel rushed and with the type of ending that has you screaming inside because you want to know more. Great work from all involved and given how much of a curveball it was it had me convinced to get a hard copy from very early on.
You can get hold of this through Gumroad now using the link below:
You can also keep updated with each of the creative team through the Twitter links below too: