PopCultHQ received an advanced review copy of EVE STRANGER #1 from IDW Publishing‘s Black Crown imprint. Available May 8th, 2019, the creative team for this issue features writing from David Barnett, illustrations from Philip Bond, colors by Eva de la Cruz, and lettering from Jane Heir.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…
Eve Stranger #1
Cover Artist: Philip Bond
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
You have unlimited funds, a jet-set lifestyle, and extraordinary abilities. And your bloodstream is filled with nanobombs. The contents of a syringe will deactivate them for a week and also wipe your memory. So what happens when you develop a sneaking suspicion that you’re actually working for the bad guys? EVE STRANGER, amnesiac-for-hire.
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
EVE STRANGER #1
Eve is…well, Eve is kind of mysterious. She’s guided through this ripping issue by some mysterious narration as clues and information reveal themselves sporadically. Is she a spy? A villain? Is this all in her head?
David Barnett completely shifts gears from Punks Not Dead to deliver a straight-forward espionage and action story that turns out to be anything straight-forward.
Just as with Punks Not Dead, it’s still unbelievable that Barnett isn’t a more seasoned comic veteran. His mastery of pace and the control he has over the narrative to reveal story and detail with such skill belies his brief bibliography.
Barnett makes no bones about delivering one kick-ass female lead and deftly balances her memories as a narrative device with little segues to events elsewhere in the universe and what’s happening in present time. All without confusing things one bit.
Yes, so far, it’s not an original idea but it’s presented with such polish and style that it doesn’t for once get stuck in tropes or lean too heavily on any one influence.
The backup feature IS innovative though. It throws a different spin on the mystery aspects of the issue and is extremely effective in leaving the reader with doubts on the information we’re being fed and its truth.
Philip Bond has always been an artist with an explosive and infectious style that demands attention in every panel. It’s cartoony but is so well-utilized in stories set in the real world with social commentary like Kill Your Boyfriend.
Like Jamie McKelvie after him, he has a deceptively keen eye for fashion trends and realistically rendered backgrounds and details while never sacrificing his distinctive style. Perfect for tethering readers to more outlandish concepts as with The Invisibles, without too big a disconnect from the world these readers know.
His panel layouts, figures, and body language are dramatic, exciting, and perfectly communicate the intent of the script and story. You’d also be hard-pressed to find an artist with such a popular style who can render each character so distinctly different. His work is populated with as many different shapes and faces as are walking the planet right now.
Whether it’s straight-up horror of Coffin Hill, off-the-wall crazy in Old Lady Harley, fantasy, sci-fi, or supernatural. Eva De La Cruz has built a portfolio of such diversity in such a relatively short period of time that it can only inform and compliment Bond’s artwork in the most effective of ways. She matches every bit of detail and accentuates the high-octane action and multiple settings with bright, eye-popping colors that while bombastic, also maintain an underlying sense of realism. It’s always a pleasure to see artwork so highly complimented by the work of a talented colorist.
Jane Heir has a lot to do for this issue but manages to bring it all home in great fashion. From pure pop sound effects to classic dialogue boxes and more advanced design captions, this is really a showcase of a letterer that has been wisely chosen to stand tall in an accomplished art team.
Black Crown continues to put out books of a high standard of quality that aren’t like anything anybody else is publishing. Eve Stranger is the closest thing to a mainstream book it has but it still feels unique and innovative. The art is out of this world fantastic with so much mass-appeal and the story is the written version of that. It’s got intrigue, character, action and clever wit. Like a pill that guarantees creativity and adventure in healthy doses, you’ll be instantly hooked.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
EVE STRANGER #1 can be pre-ordered on ComiXology
and available at your local comic shop and
online retailers Wednesday, May 8th!
Writer – David Barnett
Artist – Philip Bond
Colorist – Eva de la Cruz
Publisher – IDW Publishing
Publisher – Black Crown Publishing