Writers/Creators: David Bircham & Daley Osiyemi
Artist: David Bircham
Publisher: Markosia Enterprises/Pulp Theatre Entertainment
Considering the buzz attached to this book, I was very disappointed with the overall product. I never read the first six issues of this series, but now I want to go back and read the trade paperback to see what fans saw in this series. Of course, the first series was written by comics veteran Alan Grant, but I couldn’t conceive the apparent drop off in quality in this new series. Everything except the plot of Brodie’s Law #7 is cliched, flat, and generally boring. There is a great premise to this entire series: Jack Brodie has the ability to replicate the physical form and mind of anyone he touches, and he uses this ability to hunt down the murderers who killed his wife and kidnapped his son. Using this ability has risks for Brodie, as he slowly loses his own identity in the process. It’s almost like a super-powered version of Donnie Brasco: the deeper Brodie immerses himself, the more he loses of his soul. However, Issue #7 proves that a great plot does not necessarily make a great comic book. Where’s Alan Grant when you need him? Evil Ernie, is it?
Like I said, David Bircham and Daley Osiyemi have come up with a great concept in Brodie’s Law, but if Issue #7 is any indication of the series ahead, readers should stay far away. This issue picks up where the last series left off, as Brodie (in the guise of Harry Wade) is escaping pursuit with his rescued son Damien in tow. This scene brings up Negative Exhibit A: the antiquated comic dialogue apparent throughout this issue. Kimberly stands in an alley waiting for Brodie (Harry), completely alone yet saying aloud, “Of all the places Harry wants to meet, he picks this clapped-out junkie’s alley.” Who says this except a villain in a 1960s Daredevil comic? This kind of verbalization of internal dialogue doesn’t fit with the realistic tone that Bircham and Osiyemi are trying to accomplish here, and this instance is not the only example of outdated comic balloon usage. In a scene late in the issue featuring Tomokai’s friend Paula, we see a ridiculous internal monologue commence, as Paula thinks, “When she called me that time after the kidnapping, I could hear the excitement in her wee voice. She’s enjoying this, but she’s in danger, I know it...What’s a body to do anyhow?” Uggh! Not only is the dialogue ineffective and cheesy, but it’s also a convenient plot crutch. Would Paula think in such clear and complete statements about Tomokai just as Tomokai’s brother calls her? I don’t think so, and I don’t think this kind of exposition is effective in the least.
Jumping back to the first scenes of the issue once again brings up Negative Exhibit B: the lackluster artwork by David Bircham. Going into this issue I had heard about the great work Bircham turned in for the first six issues of the series. Well, that great art is not to be found here, or I’m really missing something. On the second page of Issue #7 is a dreadfully constructed panel featuring Kimberly looking toward us as Brodie’s car comes screaming into her alley. She says, “What the...” in surprise, but all we see is her flat, expressionless face with no body action of any kind. Flat, undynamic art is very prevalent in this issue, which is strange considering all of the action going on here. There is little kinetic energy to the panels and many of the characters look like refugees from a paint-by-numbers set considering their statuesque appearance. Plus, the coloring is very dull, which doesn’t aid in portraying a tone for the issue either. From what I heard, this is supposed to be a dark tale in the vein of Sin City. Well, I didn’t get that feeling from Issue #7, and I think Bircham needs to go back to the drawing board if he wants to capture a dark, noir feel.
I’ll halt with the negatives and say that Bircham and Osiyemi have a great concept with Brodie’s Law, but they need to find a better way to execute the actual comic book. From what I understand, Brodie’s Law is being made into a movie under the direction of Renny Harlin (by the way, Renny: I want my eight dollars back from Deep Blue Sea!). This is a great opportunity for Bircham and Osiyemi, and I wish them all the best with the film. However, I am a comic book reviewer, and what I see between the covers of Brodie’s Law #7 is a sub-standard comic book that will not attract the same critical acclaim that the first six issues did. But seeing as Bircham and Osiyemi are the creators of this enterprise, I am optimistic that they can make something of the next five issues or so of this current run. To do this, they need to take some cues from an old dog like Alan Grant and bring some much needed energy and visual appeal to this title.
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