by Paul Tobin, Alberto J. Alburquerque, Marissa Louise
Brand new from Paul Tobin, Alberto J. Alburquerque and Marissa Louis comes Mystery Girl, the story of Time Hampstead. In this first issue of the series, readers are introduced to the lead character and the basic premise of the book rather quickly. As the story continues and the earliest pieces of the plot being to take shape, Mystery Girl begins to really pull readers in and only picks up steam with each turn of the page. With a great secondary plot and a very strange final page, the opening chapter has a lot going for it.
Through a number of quick cuts and an almost montage-like opening sequence, Tobin takes little time introducing readers to the universe of Mystery Girl and the book’s lead. Alburquerque has a bit of fun, delaying the reader’s true introduction to the character for a number of panels that feature her before having her turn towards the reader and present herself. Tine Hampstead is an intriguing character from name to depiction, and especially in personality. The charm of the first issue and a big part of why the book feels compelling is the voice and energy of it’s central character. Introduced as a girl who knows everything except how she came to learn everything, Tine is the type of character that draws readers in very quickly. The creators spend much of the first half of the book simply letting readers get acquainted with their universe. The use of a number of encounters with Tine in her street office present a large amount of information about her and this world. With each new piece, the book grows a little bit more engrossing. Much of that is to do with the incredibly simplistic but fascinating hook about Tine.
The opening portion of the book is not simply a series of mysteries for Tine to solve, however. Tobin manages to include a short sequence featuring a hitman, which strikes a very different tone. The scene is grim and the unknown man’s callousness is unnerving. Alburquerque’s artwork, with colors from Louise, manages to keep the tone consistent throughout. The book feels kinetic and exciting. Between Tobin’s characterization of Tine and those that surround her, and the stylization of the universe by Alburquerque and Lousie, Mystery Girl moves quite rapidly. At the introduction of Jovie Ghislain, this first issue begins to let on where its creators plan to take Tine. But, it is the interaction between Tine and Ken that really showcases the heart of the lead character and how effortlessly the creators can communicate elements of personality to the reader. Added to it the secondary plot of the story, and Mystery Girl has a number of things to enjoy.
The final page teaser, which connects to the first cut-away in the issue, is an interesting one, if not a bit confusing as well. While Tobin has certainly given readers a lot to love in this opening chapter, the last pieces provide as much intrigue as they do befuddlement. Still, Mystery Girl #1 is a successful introduction presenting plenty, and offering much more to come.