Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Ben Templesmith
Publisher: Image Comics
A yellow Post-It note reads: "My new home. I think maybe a lot of people killed themselves here." It's rare that one caption can so completely set the tone of a series: grim, clever, eccentric. Thus opens Fell, the latest Warren Ellis experiment, and one the writer has been pimping hard through his "Bad Signal" newsletter. The first issue shows Fell to be entirely deserving of these efforts. Laughing at despair has never been such fun.
Fell begins as many Ellis tales do, with a man supplanted from his cozy home to an uncertain world. Here, Detective Richard Fell has been reassigned "over the bridge" into Snowtown. Fell has a knack for reading people, a quality that can come off as charming or irksome. Though he thinks he has found a friend in barkeeper Mayko, the young woman may have an agenda of her own.
Ben Templesmith's art provides just the right visual theme, a suicidal town populated by defeated individuals. Grime and shadow rule the day, with Fell serving not so much as a ray of hope but rather a torch-light of possibility.
Part of Ellis's intention with this series was to create an affordable comic book in which each issue would be self-contained. Fell #1 passes both of these tests, $1.99 for a mystery opened and solved. Plus, it's a really fun read, so there's that going for it. Add to that a visual style that will appeal to just about everyone, and Fell becomes a very attractive little book.
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