As much as Mark Waid impresses me with his interpretation of superheroes, I had no interest in his ventures into other genres. On a whim, with the majority of my reviews wrapped up and two copies of this title hanging around the LCS, I decided to give it a review.
Waid proves his versatility with this title, just as he did with “Empire.” Superheroes are not the only thing Waid does well. While the primary character here is a “John Doe,” Waid manages to make him more than an alias, giving him a partner in the form of Police Detective Nissa Robbins to work with. The story is a hard-boiled detective story about a group of dirty cops, living beyond their means by stealing identities — figuratively and literally — from people. A seemingly generic plot, but Waid takes this plot and makes a layered mystery of it.
Azaceta turns in some gloomily brilliant pages. His style is heavily reminiscent of Michael Lark. Like Lark, Azaceta favors chiaroscuro and also like Lark, and Azaceta’s strengths are in making the on-page darkness tangible. This is a real book set in a real world and Azaceta’s renderings live up to those real expectations. Objects and settings seem real and believable, which is much needed in a book like this.
This book made enough of an impression on me where I will go looking for the previous “Potter’s Field” issues. This is a nice change-up from the same-old, same-old, a different kind of book and perhaps even a significant surrogate for readers still looking for a title to fill that “Gotham Central”-sized hole in their collecting. True, there’s no superheroics, but there’s plenty of great reading.