By Frank J. Barbiere & Toby Cypress
Dark Horse Comics have had a string of fairly random new titles launch recently, though none have been quite as interesting as The White Suits. This first issue may have been a little confusing but it was still enjoyable and felt different and unique in both tone and overall delivery. Furthermore, the artwork was really something else!
Frank Barbiere has crafted a strangely enigmatic tale of gang violence, and this first issue throws readers directly in the midst of the growing conflict. A handful of vicious killers who once savaged Cold War Russia, the mysterious White Suits, have returned to claim everything from the other criminals around. In this initial installment, there isn’t much backstory given and a lot of the plot felt somewhat confusing so far, but there was still something about this book that pulls the reader in; it’s full of exciting action, and the intrigue is conveyed in a way that maintains an interest despite the current lack of details. The confusion was also well-served given that one of the leading characters is an amnesiac. While he currently only remembers brief glimpses of his apparently violent past, it looks like he may have some help.
The real star of the show here was the artwork of Toby Cypress. The visuals throughout White Suits #1 were incredibly raw and visceral, mostly sticking to black & white with the occasional red for highlights and emphasis where necessary. The layouts and the overall design of the characters were very interesting and strange, adding to the somewhat surreal sensibility of this book. There were also some gorgeous, beautifully-inventive splash pages which brought a lot of added depth. The raw black coloring has an erratic, manic look to it that at times feels vaguely reminiscent of some work done by Vertigo master, Dave McKean; definitely not a typical appearance, but one that feels fresh and different and really helps to convey the tone of the story.
For an opening installment, White Suits #1 was a great start for this series. There’s clearly a lot more to be covered, but this book does a great job of building interest and the visuals were absolutely terrific. This issue felt different in all the right ways without relying on shock or the absurd; definitely a strong beginning.