"John Flood" #1 is an entertaining and exciting comic book full of engaging characters, solid plot structure and knockout art and design from Jorge Coelho, who adds a dynamic energy to everything he draws in the issue. Justin Jordan pulls readers into the plot immediately, delivering a fun teaser in the opening that quickly establishes the character, motivations and danger as John Flood, a man who no longer requires sleep due to government experimentation, recounts his visions to a police officer while in holding.
Jordan's capable dialogue talents develop even more in this series, as even the tertiary characters get a chance to crack a quip or give a fun aside. Flood himself is an entertaining force of nature as the action naturally revolves around him any time he is present. Jordan surrounds him with characters like Andrew Berry, a disgraced police officer who is quiet but noble, and Lyta Brumbaugh, Flood's whip-smart consultant and problem solver who brings Berry into their odd world. The approach is reminiscent of the opening scenes of "Planetary" but with cleverer Michael Jackson jokes. Jordan balances several moods throughout the issue's pages, ranging from the mysterious wonder of John Flood's home to tense drama as an old client arrives to confront the man with the menacing horror of the antagonist's reign of blood far out in the middle of nowhere. The page count given to each and the structure keep the reader's attention and linger just long enough on each moment to hold everything together.
Throughout, Coelho's art is wonderful, full of range and interesting design choices. Lyta and John in particular are very stylized, with Lyta's costuming choices and John's strange eyes. It makes each of these important characters instantly recognizable and engaging. While the page layouts are fairly straightforward, the scenes themselves are staged well and the action is always clear and well-situated. The reveal of the cabin in the woods is shocking and terrible, a perfect page-turning reveal that is abetted by the doorway scene immediately after. There's a good balance of openness in character design mixed with attention to specific detail, like clothing and body language, that really creates a voice for the artist. Jordan is a writer who enjoys writing to the strengths of his artist, so it will be exciting to see how this professional combination develops throughout the series.
This is a great first issue of a book. The team does a good job of starting small, then expanding the world, then returning to a smaller focus. It keeps the story from becoming overwhelming. There's still a lot to learn in this world but there is already a sense of confidence and capability in the storytelling that makes the book feel like it knows where it's going.
Jordan and Coelho's "John Flood" is a great new series with a lot of promise. The character work is fun, the art is engaging and the plot moves along at a pace that gives the issue a constant sense of forward momentum.