It’s becoming apparent that the new National Comics done-in-one anthology series has a structure that is both its greatest asset and biggest shortcoming. While last month’s Kid Eternity story was a stellar tale that felt complete (though I was desperate for more), Looker is more of a broad strokes introduction to the revamped Emily Briggs than a satisfying story. We get bits and pieces of some interesting things with the loose framework of a murder mystery, but overall there’s not enough here in this one-shot to deliver anything that we can latch onto in such a short amount of time.
Writer Ian Edginton establishes Emily well – perhaps reiterating too many of the same points too often – but the issue quickly becomes more interested in satirizing fashion culture than developing Looker as a character. We get analogues for the Beckhams and Paris Hilton alongside not-so-subtle commentary on the projected nature of models and the world behind the runway. It’s frustrating because so much time is devoted to these things, while Edginton also introduces a brilliant supporting cast, whose backstories are relegated to a page each, yet it’s these characters that are the clear standouts of this issue.
Similarly, Edginton toys with a romance that is far too downplayed, despite its somewhat illogical premise (she enters through and leaps out his window, but he has “no idea” that she’s a vampire?). The vampire element is also front and center, which is done no favors by the utterly fantastic I, Vampire, in that everything we’re seeing feels like a CliffsNotes version of that spectacular series. It also doesn’t help that Edginton can’t resist making a Twilight joke, which at this point, is useless considering that the number of amazing modern vampire stories that outweigh that one, let alone it being done to death. There are simply too many distractions throughout a story that, above all else, should be honed in squarely on delivering the best done-in-one tale for its star in this very limited space.
Mike S. Miller delivers some nice linework though, if relatively bare in details. The figure work is smooth and successful in evoking the characters’ emotions, and the paneling is pretty standard but flows nicely. Unfortunately the background detail is almost non-existent, which really becomes a problem in the climactic battle between Looker and the big bad. The fight is claustrophobic, failing to give any sense of location or scale, simply delivering one blow after another until it’s over.
There are portions of Looker #1 that have enormous potential, and if this was the start of a larger story, then I might be able to give it the benefit of the doubt. But as a completed whole, there simply isn’t enough here to make it worth the money, unless you’re a die-hard Looker fan.
Source : feeds[dot]ign[dot]com