Reviewed by Will Cooling
Title: Close Encounter
Story by Daley Osiyemi & David Bircham
Dialogue by Alan Grant
Art by David Bircham
Coloured by James Yuen
Lettered by Debo
Last month we saw professional criminal Jack Brodie’s life go up the sprout without a paddle as he attempted to break into a top-secret laboratory owned by the sinister P-Fact Corporation only to find that it was a set up with police waiting for him. To make matters worse the police and the “secret service” are gunning for him with his wife and children dead and his best friend’s house searched. He’s wounded and he’s quickly running out of places to hide as his informants are killed or compromised one by one. Now he attempts to work out what happened to him last night and what exactly is on the disc he stole from P-Fact. To make matters worse, a former friend of his Detective Harry Wade has been assigned to the case and he’s determined to get his man.
This is another good issue of an intriguing series. The story (as in the previous issue) is a collection of crime-story genre conventions with the introduction of Wade giving us yet another. You see Wade can be filed under “tough guy cop with a history with the perp that makes the case personal”, which let’s face it isn’t the most original idea in the world. However, to criticise Brodie’s Law for being unoriginal is to miss the point as from what I can see it doesn’t care that it borrows so many elements from the crime genre. Indeed, the dialogue seems to play up the “Shaft” and seventies retro nature of the story with references to Stevie Wonder for example. One problem of course is that these conventions that Brodie’s Law is so successfully plundering are associated with America, it slightly jars to see them used in a British setting.
Still it can’t be denied that there are used very well with Harry Wade’s introduction handled excellently as what we first assume to be a prim and proper cop is shown to have a highly personalised agenda. His confrontation with Brodie is an excellent scene with his ruthless aggression (he he) and determination as he pursues Brodie. However, said pursuit does highlight one of the problems with the writing that it often seems to have a slightly loose grip on reality. It sounds like nit-picking but a cop simply wouldn’t chase someone down the street all guns blazing let alone run them down with a car. The sub-plot concerning Brodie’s attempts to understand the disc he’s stolen is even more problematic with him being forced to take highly unusual steps to understand it. Another problem with the writing is that it’s a little unfocused and loose, it could do with being tightened up around the edges as sometimes key points don’t register with the first read. You get the feeling that elements of the writing are more geared to producing the type of visuals to really let Bircham soar instead of concisely telling the story.
That said, who would blame them? No offence to Grant or Osiyemi but Bircham is the star of this series (so far). His art is excellent with the verve and quality of last month’s issue. What makes it so good is the rip-roaring adventurous nature of it all with everything from a conversation between Wade and his superior to Wade chasing Brodie being played to the max. What is interesting is that his artwork this issue has a lot of Jim Lee style scratches over his linework, which adds depth to his artwork. The panel arrangement is excellent with action once again spilling over and some very clever and stunning “one page spreads” ala Dark Knight Returns. Also of not is Yuen’s colouring (not Bircham’s as I mistakenly said last week) with its often neon colour scheme never failing to help make the art leap of the page and look a million bucks. The art turns what is an enjoyable if slightly unoriginal and ridiculous action romp into a hi-octane and vivid comic.
So a good second issue that not only produces some great visuals and intriguing character moments but also further develops our understanding of the forces mounted against Brodie. Whilst some of the scenes may be slightly contentious and the ideas slightly ridiculous there’s no denying that they are part of an entertaining comic.
The Last Word: Great art on a good if flawed script was good enough for Hush and in my mind its good enough for Brodie’s Law. Definitely worth checking out!
Brodie’s Law 2 is out now through diamond. Brodie’s Law 3 is out November. Check out The Nexus in two week’s time for our exclusive advance review.
To find out more about Brodie’s Law visit www.Brodie’s Law
A big thank you for Daley Osiyemi for his help in providing materials for this review