By Gerry Duggan, David O’Sullivan, Jordie Bellaire
Analog sets the tone and direction of comic in strong fashion from its very first panel. The noir thriller implements all the conventions one would expect out of a genre narrative such as this one. Surprisingly, despite delving into said conventions and tropes the, comic is able to present some solid surprises. The plot revolves around Jack McGinnis, who acts as an intermediary for dangerous information or what one would call a “ledger man.” He becomes embroiled in serious repercussions from a job he seems to have mishandled in the past.
Arguably, the prologue is the best part of the comic. It’s sharp, taught, and evocative. The pacing and sequential depictions, in conjunction with the somber winter color palette, create such a clear sense of tension and heavy mood that it almost didn’t need the dialogue or narration. It’s a real testament to David O’Sullivan and Jordie Bellaire’s artistic skills. All this is not to say that the writing falls short, it just feels generic and what one would expect tonally from a thriller of this nature. Gerry Duggan does give Jack a strong voice and that helps build interest with the audience. The comic is almost worth the cover price for those few pages alone.
Sadly, the rest of the comic just doesn’t hold up. The basic overarching conflict and plot seems contrived, despite having a poignant angle to contemporary events in reality. Even the cliffhanger at the end of the issue is able to be seen a mile away and feels cheap. An illustration element that doesn’t help the material is depicting Jack, the main character, only opening his mouth five times to speak in the entire comic and none of the other characters at all. It seems like a terrible shortcut to take on the artwork, considering the narrative is predicated predominantly on dialogue in this issue. The coloring fills out the pages well enough, but after the title page there just isn’t the same potent atmosphere that Bellaire delivered in the beginning of the book. Perhaps this falls more under O’Sullivan’s pencils and inks not having enough details because she is able to accentuate his work to elevate it and make sell the intended mood, but it does seem to lack texture and depth in the daytime sequences. Overall, the artwork serves it purpose, yet it doesn’t quite deliver on the intended promise shown in the opening moments of the comic.
Inconsistency and dissonance plague this issue and affect the reading experience. As the narrative progresses, the audience starts from being fully active to being a passive participant. The plot seems to have enough meat on its bones, but if the overall package can’t engage readers enough to come back for issue two, then the creatives have a serious problem. This comic has its merits (the powerful prologue) that are worth researching/looking up, but it’s not one that can be wholeheartedly recommended for purchase, unfortunately. It may be worth waiting until the trade paperback is released.