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Mumbai MacGuffin

Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2008
By: Karyn Pinter

Saurav Mohapatra
Saumin Patel
Virgin Comics
An American "machine part" falls from the sky right into the middle of the Thar Desert in India. What is this "machine part" exactly? It's important enough that the CIA, two groups of black market traders, a fanatic religious group, and some Russian mercenaries are all trying to recover it.

For those of you who don't know, MacGuffin is a term coined by the great Alfred Hitchcock for a plot device that helps move a story along and gets the characters into action. The MacGuffin is relatively unimportant; it simply serves as a jumping off point. The MacGuffin in this story is the so-called "machine part."

Overall, the comic was good. It wasn't rushed, and it wrapped up nicely. However, there was nothing outstanding about it either. Mumbai MacGuffin just wants to be fun, like a summertime action flick.

Writer Saurav Mohapatra put a good twist on the current state of the world in the government’s wild goose chase through the dark underbelly of the Chor Bazar. The un-translated Hindi puts you through a bout of "lost in translation", making you feel like you've just been dropped into the heart of India without a Hindi-to-English dictionary. The dialogue was entertaining, and there weren't any attempts at throwing a bunch of political garbage at you.

I know the political underpinnings are part of the espionage genre, but sometimes it can be overdone by trying to be a “message” piece. The two main characters--Ike Flint, the CIA operative, and CC, his taxi driver--are cut from the average "buddy film" cloth. One is the straight man and the other's the class clown. Ike Flint would be considered the lead, but he wasn't as charismatic as a main character should be--which, I guess, is why he got a sidekick to help keep things afloat.

The other characters were a little more interesting. The main bad guy, Fukku Bhai, was the most entertaining. I wish more comics had wheelchair-bound, black market traders who were obsessed with American Westerns.

The one thing that I didn't like was the use of the code name, Eagle. After so many years of spy stories, can't we get a new code name for the American agent? It's a bit tired.

The art work was really good. It looked crisp, snappy (I know there's a word I'm looking for, but those two will have to do). It fit the story well.

I can't stress how important it is that art matches the writing. You just know when it's a good fit, and this is one of those comics. The colors were vibrant and added a lot to the overall aesthetic pleasure of reading Mumbai MacGuffin.

If you're looking for a break from your normal reading routine, but don't want a new series to start, I recommend this book.



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