ADVANCE REVIEW: City of Dust #1

Written by Steve Niles
Art by Zid

I’m going to be honest here and admit that I’m not much of Steve Niles fan. It’s not that I have any problems with his work, quite the opposite in fact, it’s just that I’ve never really read much by him. What I read of 30 Days of Night I enjoyed, and I liked the first two issues of his Creeper series before I fell off from it, but I’ve never been a huge fan of his work. So when I got an e-mail asking me to read this book and write a review, I was a bit iffy. Then I got to thinking, that makes me perfect for this review. I have no bias one way or the other, so it’s all going to be fair and balanced.

So how does it start? Flying cars in a metropolis is always a great way to identify the setting as the future, which isn’t a complaint, I like having that clarified on the first page. There’s a drunk couple flying about in their car when they wreck and get out to have sex on it before they call for help….and they both get torn limb from limb pretty much immediately. Pretty unique way to start the book, I mean, how often do you see a title open like that in issue #1?

From there we’re treated to a narrated story about how when he was a boy, the narrators father was arrested for telling him a story about animals walking and talking. You see, imagination is a crime. It leads to horrible things like superstitions and religions, the things that tore society apart. The narrarator’s name is Philip Khrome, and he’s a cop.

We’re shown Phil hunting down a man with an arrest warrant for saying prayers to his kid, and a sentence of death for it. In fact, Phil shooting him dead is considered perfectly fine as the man was wearing a cross around his neck, a weapon more dangerous then any gun. We find out as the issue goes on the pornography is illegal, which made me chuckle quite a bit. Though apparently whore-houses are fine, which baffled me.

I could go on and on and spoil the issue, and I came close (actually deleted four paragraphs that were more or less just a summary of the entire book), but after reading this myself I have to tell you….READ THIS BOOK!

Seriously, it has an engaging story that has me wanting more. It’s a unique idea that Niles is unfolding bit by bit as he allows us to see just what the world has become, the things we allow, the things we refuse. The evils of imagination and religion, of having beliefs that differ between people. Eliminating the things that we enjoy as freedoms, and yet see so much persecution caused by. It’s a gripping page turning reading, and an amazing first issue. I truly can’t wait for what comes in the next issue, especially after the cliffhanger.

The art is nice, and has a very nice realistic tone to it. The characters all look human, without overly animated of cartoonish features. The coloring job is dark, and plays great off of the writing. It’s dramatic, serious, and doesn’t have the radiance or aura of “fun”, which helps it a lot. This book is meant to be taken seriously, and the art reflects it.

Bottom line? I’ve heard Steve Niles called a master of horror in the comics industry, and if this first issue is any indication, then I think he has a new hit on his hands. If you like Steve Niles, or if you just like a well done suspense and horror story, City of Dust #1 is an amazing start to what looks to be an amazing book.

9/10

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