Chin Music #1

Story by
Art by
Tony Harris
Letters by
Bill Tortolini
Cover by
Image Comics

While the opening two scenes in "Chin Music" #1 from writer Steve Niles and artist Tony Harris left me puzzled, I decided to press on, giving the creative duo benefit of the doubt. After all, it was Tony Harris on the artwork. His demonstrative details and creative graphics fill pages like no one else's artwork, so at least I could look at the book and enjoy the artwork if I was destined for confusion. Except, it all comes full circle, but is rather dizzying on the way around.

Part of the befuddlement might have to do with some of the storytelling getting murky in the extravagance of Harris' artwork. In the opening scene, it looks like the central figure is dipping the bullet in the phone, but we all know that wouldn't do anyone any good. The following scene, set in Egypt, gets foggy due to the colors on the page and concealed faces running around. The tail end of that scene brings in some clarity and also confirms the mystical nature of "Chin Music" #1. From there, clarity in place, the story develops to a nice shocker of an ending, that loops all the way back to the first scene, delivering closure while eliciting cries of "More!"

I'm not sure who the characters are or are supposed to be, but Niles is clearly writing to Harris' strengths, so much so that at times it seems as though Niles maybe developed a story to connect random images that Harris had created. By the end of the issue, however, it becomes crystal clear that this book is going somewhere other than in a confusing circle. Niles constructs a story that has more than simple black and white, bad and good. There is tragedy and calamity on a number of levels and how that defines the allegiances remains to be seen. In the interim, however, everyone is potentially good or bad, or maybe just less one or the other.

"Chin Music" #1 grabbed my attention when I first heard of the creative team. This is, after all, Tony Harris of "Starman" and "Ex Machina" fame providing the artwork. Proven creepy writer Steve Niles is writing it, so the book is a solid hit, at least on paper. Once the book actually hits paper, it proves to be entertaining and engaging. "Chin Music" #1 has solid story to it, filled with mobsters and mysticism. The payoff for this comic is much more than I anticipated early in my reading of it. Truly, this is the stuff comics should be made of.

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