REVIEW: Potter's Field #1



Writer/Creator: Mark Waid

Artist: Paul Azaceta

Colorist: Nick Filardi

Company: Boom Studios


The term [potter’s field] comes from the story Matthew 27:7 in the New Testament of the Bible, in which Jewish priests take 30 pieces of silver returned by a repentant Judas. “The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.”

There’s a million stories in the naked city, and most of them really never get told. The truly anonymous, the unidentified dead, end up in a potter’s field – unmourned and unknown. This kind of place lends itself to a great opportunity for storytelling, since even the most banal of lives have something to them. Potter’s Field, a new comic from Mark Waid, tells the story of a mysterious John Doe, who has made it his life’s ambition to find out those stories, and to give names to those who lie in those fields.

The book is hampered by the fact that we do not learn one single thing about the protagonist through the entire story, other than the fact that he somehow doesn’t leave fingerprints, and that he’s an effective hand-to-hand fighter. I also worry about the fact that he’s being built up as simply too indestructible and too unflappable — all of the best film noir characters have had some sort of flaw with them (see Marv, Dwight, and the other characters from Frank Miller’s Sin City as prime examples in the comics genre). There has to be something about the main character to hook in the reader, and there wasn’t much of that in this first issue.

However, the noir feeling, in both the look and the dialogue/narration is very effective. And the fact that I do feel genuinely curious about the backstory of Mr. Doe proves that the creator, Mark Waid, is doing something correctly here. There’s definitely potential in this book, but it’ll be tough to truly pull in dedicated fans until the focus moves off of the stories of the dead, and onto something about the living.

Rating: 6


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