Voluminous Vertigo Week: Vinyl Underground #5

DC's Vertigo line of comics puts out some of the best comics by either Marvel or DC, and this week, a staggering FIVE good Vertigo comic books were released - let's talk about them - BC.

One of the more interesting aspects of the Vinyl Underground is how writer Si Spencer has taken a lot of the same approaches with this comic that I do not think worked with his Tim Hunter series, but I think they work a lot better when done with brand new characters.

The Vinyl Underground, in case you are unfamiliar with the book, is about four young adults (each with their own expertises and eccentricities) who solve occult crimes in London. They're basically an updated take on the Scooby Doo gang (Spencer has hung a lampshade on this comparison a number of times already). At the end of the book's first arc, the tight trio had expanded to a quartet (working in the lead character's ex-girlfriend) and the lead, Morrison Shepherd, discovered that his long-lost (and presumed dead) mother might very well be alive and somewhere in London.

The rest of the comic is quite a trip through Shepherd's past and London's eccentricities. Spencer gives us a history of the mapping of London, in particular, Phyllis Pearsall's A to Z map of London, which included, for copyright purposes, certain fictional street names (so one would know if her map was being copied) - Shepherd's mother is on one of those fictional streets. Meanwhile, on the search for her, Shepherd is accompanied by a mental manifestation of himself as a five-year-old child, which is the last time he saw his mother. The interaction between the older Shepherd and his younger self is quite amusing, particularly when the five-year-old Shepherd takes up cursing - you know, to make himself seem older.

While Shepherd is on this journey, the other three members of the group are dealing with both Shepherd being missing (Shepherd is a recovering drug addict, so he checks in with the other two members of the group every day to make sure they know he is not back on drugs), and the awkwardness of adding a new member to their little crime-solving gang. And when they get a lead on a new crime - things are even worse off.

Inker Cameron Stewart is a brilliant artist, and he helps the book's feel immensely, but penciler Simon Gane is no slouch himself. Very nice artwork - good character-based stuff.

This is a smart, funny comic with engaging personalities and an interesting look at the world of the occult.


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