Creator: Dave Stewart
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Ashish Padlekar
Publisher: Virgin Comics
Damn. This is GOOD. That, in as short a way as possible is my review of what even at just two issues has turned out to be the best (and my personal favorite) Virgin title, and for someone who has every single Virgin title (from Devi to John Woo’s 7 Brothers) on his pull-list and is enjoying them all (in varying degrees), this is no easy feat. However, as much as I am intrigued by the semi-Witchblade-esque Devi, or as much as I look forward to Ramayan 3392 AD and its take on the original Ramayan or even 7 Brothers with the usual Garth Ennis’ excellence driving it, Dave Stewart’s Walk-In goes past all of them.
Going into the first issue, I had no knowledge of the basic premise of this series, and even though I have since caught up on that (from the Virgin Comics’ website and Wikipedia), I will refrain from detailing it here. However, even though the premise itself didn’t impress me (I am not a big fan of those A**** stories), the way creator Dave Stewart and writer Jeff Parker are fleshing it out, building on it, that has all but obliterated all of my doubts about it. Even if the final product (or as it is this case, the ending) might not have me all giddy and looking forward to it, the journey to it has me more than stoked that I will be seeing it through to the very last issue.
This installment presents more visions, more strangers, more gangsters, more strippers, more humorous moments (genuinely humorous, not those forced ones), and to tie it all up, a death. Something for everyone, eh! Having made some sort of a peace with his blackouts, our man Ian finds visiting that decision again, revising it to having something to do with these new "powers" that he has developed recently. Along with his own half hearted introspections, he even goes to "Madame Olga," a clairvoyant that his fellow apartment-mate and colleague, Valery, is a fan of. As it turns out though, Madame Olga isn’t all that much of a soothsayer as she is dupe-artiste who all but faints at Ian’s outing of her (with his own powers).
Along with all of this and the death that I mentioned earlier, there is more development on the Ian-Astrid dynamic. Although it might not lead anywhere, especially with Ian's "fine old time" comment, there is definite chemistry between these two. As for Valery, I got a sense of camaraderie between her and Ian (although not of the sexual kind), especially since both of them genuinely seem to care about the somewhat naïve and innocent Astrid.
Regarding the artwork, even though there could have been artists who can provide more polished visuals, the fit that is Ashish Padlekar and his fresh, light yet emotionally expressive style is the closest thing that is to a perfect fit for this story, or for that matter, any story. I sincerely hope that this isn’t the last we see of Mr. Padlekar both on Virgin titles and on other publishers' titles. Same for colorist, Sheetal Tanaji Patil.
Conclusion: My personal likes and dislikes of the A*** angle aside, this is a story that should (and will) appeal to readers of all age groups and preferences, especially those who cannot get the "mature readers suggested" books like Snake Woman and John Woo’s 7 Brothers.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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