Jamie McKelvie's debut solo comic from Image (McKelvie was the artist on Phonogram) came out this week, and it opens strongly, with some very nice characterization building and an amusing/interesting premise.
The comic follows two best friends, Astrid and Dave, who live in a small English suburban town. For the majority of the issue, the pair lead their normal lives, until Astrid is confronted by her childhood imaginary friends, and it is a hint that something magical and big is coming to Astrid and Dave's otherwise dull existence.
A challenge for most any writer is to make a story that is designed to show people doing "normal" stuff seem interesting. I think McKelvie does a nice job with this, which is important because if you can get your readers interested in the characters BEFORE you dump the big twist on them, then you know you've got them hooked.
Their interactions were believable and compelling, and Astrid was interesting enough (and likable enough) for us to want to follow for the rest of the series.
The mysterious woman Astrid meets, Aubrey, who has just moved to town from New York to open up a store, gives off a real "reverse Giles" vibe to me, but I suppose that is something I will find out more in the upcoming issues.
As mentioned before, the interactions between the characters were strong, particularly at the party Dave and Astrid attend, as McKelvie does a strong enough job establishing their personalities that we can almost predict how they will act with different people, and they do (which is a good sign of consistent characterization).
I enjoy McKelvie's depiction of their clothing and their facial expressions. It is strong, detailed work.
McKelvie's clean art style works well for the book, especially when the imaginary creatures show up, because they look even more out of place the way he draws, which makes the distinction between them and the "real" world really pop for the reader.
Speaking of "popping," was I the only one who didn't realize at first that the tattooed woman was, in fact, tattooed? It looked like colored sleeves to me at first. Totally minor detail, but I was curious if anyone else was confused.
In any event, this is a strong, fun first issue that explores what happens when the mundane meets the magical.
Sorta like the title of the book, no?