Pilot Season trucks along with another one shot sent forth to win us over and to be developed into a further series. It’s an interesting balance to try and make your debut issue stand alone, as it may forever more in history, but also have it dangle enough leads that you want to read more of this tale. “Asset” does a decent job of being a holistic tale, but also having that little extra to make you wonder what could come next.
The premise is that a modern day Mata Hari uses her wiles to charm men and then get them to do some form of dirty work for her. Her connection to these marks is online dating. Using their online profiles as psych evaluation is actually a pretty cool move. Then using these men as unwilling weapons for her devious needs is very clever, indeed.
The greatest thing this issue does is not play out who this mystery lady is working for and what their end game goal is. The fact that you want to know is testament to the intrigue distilled in these pages. There’s obviously a major plot at play here but we only get an entry level glimpse and on its own it almost is enough.
One of two problems I have with the issue is the first mission we see here. The lady, going by the name Maddie, does a good job of manipulating her mark. She sets him up and is pretty sure how he’ll react but I can’t reconcile that she knows how far he will take it. If the mark doesn’t perform to complete expectations then the whole case could go pear-shaped. Having this many variables to the story worries me.
The other concern I have, and this one is kind of major, is the whole running conversation that Maddie uses to manipulate the mark. It center on relationship abuse and, while that’s a touchy topic, here it seems to be too aggressively sought after. It comes out of nowhere, and while I assume she picked this guy for that reason, the whole topic felt jarring and took me off the page for a moment.
This is an issue of Pilot Season that actually feels like a pilot episode of a show. The mystery is effective and the pace slams you through to the ending. This could be better if everything didn’t feel so damn convenient. It’s the sort of writing where you simply can’t see past how precious the idea was and how it just doesn’t feel real. Nonetheless, this is the superior Pilot Season issue for this year so far.