Vaughan and Martin's 'Private Eye' debuts: Is it worth your time?

No muss, no fuss and very little hype -- this week Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin re-teamed on a new digital-only comic titled The Private Eye. Featuring fantastic colors by Muntsa Vicente, the comic is available on the Panel Syndicate website "for any price you think is fair."

With that kind of model, there's not a lot of risk for the consumer, but there is the question of "How much should I pay?" The site's FAQ suggest 99 cents as a fair price; I opted to pay $3 because that's what I would pay for a copy of Saga. But if you're unsure if it's worth your time and money, here are a few reviews to help you along ...

Greg McElhatton, Comic Book Resources: "...at its heart, The Private Eye is a reimagining of the old pulp detective novel. I like this updating, where everyone wears physical masks (instead of just emotional ones) and the secrets that we keep are what the new brand of paparazzi seek out. Vaughan's creation of this future is fun and intriguing; it uses just the right level of nods to the older story form even while transforming it into something that feels fresh. Our lead character is a bit of an enigma at this point, but that's clearly a deliberate move on the part of Vaughan. After all, we don't know his name (his front door to his office shows the symbol for pi rather than a form of address), and he's masked on most of the pages of the comic as well." (4/5)

Minhquan Nguyen , Weekly Comic Book Review: "With that in mind, let’s simply appreciate the good fortune and circumstance that allowed Vaughan to bring such a story to us. Even more than Saga, which is really an old story in new clothes, Private Eye shows off Vaughan’s cutting imagination in the same way Y: The Last Man did. From the very first page—heck, from the very cover—the series throws you headfirst into its dazzlingly unique world, threatening to overwhelm you with its bizarre sights and sounds." (A)

Paul Montgomery, iFanboy: "Our Private Eye is wonderfully enigmatic, a character who darts in and out of shadows, employing some urban camouflage to evade capture in a rooftop chase. The Cheshire Cat grin printed at the occipital of his hoody seems a loving wink to Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson. The young man himself makes for a nice blend of young and old, equally romantic and disillusioned about the era that generated the cloud. An old soul who’s not so wise that we lose him to a high horse. He can also put the dick in private dick, a tad big for his britches when it comes to his own abilities. As the best detectives are." (4.5/5)

David Cerola, Alpha Entertainment Online: "The art style is something else, I haven’t actually encountered Marcos Martin before, but I’m already a fan. Action scenes are so fluid it’s like watching animation. I need to see more of his work and look forward to subsequent issues. The way he portrays emotions could improve a bit, at times the characters seem to be displayed forever in a grim expression which at times, certain sections of story, can be a bit off putting. None the less, the art overall is fantastic! My only wish is that this would be a real book for my monitor is incapable of HD so I feel I lose some of that ‘feel’ that comes with Marcos Martins drawings and Munsta Vicente illustrations." (4.5/5)

Steve Morris, The Beat: "Vicente is the undisputed star of this first issue, taking Martin’s work and creating some blunt, strikingly coloured patterns for the world the characters live in. Buildings are bright green, the costumes are garish and manic, and the starkness of the colouring creates a futuristic landscape. It helps that Martin is drawing hovercars and people wearing squids on their heads, of course, but Vicente’s colouring does more for the issue than anything else here. Her work is utterly fantastic, and should be one of the main reasons you continue picking up the book."

Andrenn Jones, Comic Book Revolution: "If you are not big on Sci Fi and you do not enjoy being dropped into a futuristic world where most of what is established is through hints and dialogue and you do not get tons of definite answers then Private Eye may not be for you. But BKV and Martin work hard to establish their world nicely so, hopefully, you will not feel too lost when you start this series." (9/10)

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