by Jay Faerber and Fran Bueno
There’s something to be said for the opening page of a new series in how it attempts to pull-in the reader. Writer Jay Faerber does it through a group shot of the police squad. Each character gets a line in this panel and, simply enough, it communicates a lot about each individual as well as the group dynamic. What appears to be a routine bust and arrest turns out to be much more and, with some great panel work from Fran Bueno, Graveyard Shift #1 has the reader’s attention early and doesn’t let go.
The start of this new series from the creators of Noble Causes is a well paced and well drawn police action as the squad attempt to detain a certain individual. Early on in this sequence there is definitely a sense that something is amiss and the communication between script and visual complement one another. Faerber and Bueno are a great pair in this first issue and their balance in this sequence showcases just that. Though little time is given to name or identify the individual officers, their voices and designs are developed enough. When the suspect eventually shows himself, the story takes a sharp turn and it is pretty clear that this is just the start.
The issue finds its way back to Liam’s place where he and his girlfriend, Hope, discuss their lives and the relationship feels natural. Faerber does a good job giving readers a bit more about the main cast through natural dialogue, but it is not long before the series returns to its main story. There is a cinematic sensation to the way in which this story is written and paced. It is clear from the opening encounter that the monsters are not typical in this universe. After an attack on his friends, Liam seems to have lost everything. But, as is often the case in these types of stories, this is certainly just the beginning.
Artist Fran Bueno employs some great perspectives in this issue, using interesting angles and layouts to convey tension. At times, however, the action sequences seem to jump, missing a bit from one moment to the next, leaving it for the reader to imagine what happened between those panels. In addition, there are moments when the art feels a bit frozen. Bueno’s use of heavy inks to frame his characters and the setting have a framing effect that interrupts the sequence, leaving the characters appearing to be posing rather than in mid-action. The overall look of the book and the character designs are well rendered. Bueno does a solid job crafting and filling out the visuals of this new world.
Ultimately, Graveyard Shift #1 functions as a solid introductory issue with a few bumps. The time and attention that the creators are paying to the series are bound to pay off as the series continues forward. Faerber lays out an interesting premise in the issue’s back up material. Though that dynamic isn’t presented in this issue, the idea of this cop partnering with his undead girlfriend to fight this battle and find a cure certainly sounds interesting. As such, the first chapter is more like an “issue zero.” It will take at least one more for readers to see just what Faerber and Bueno have planned.