Following their award-winning series Giant Days, John Allison and Max Sarin show how being everyone’s favorite child detective isn’t what it’s cracked up to be years later in BOOM! Studios’ Wicked Things #1 out this week.
Wicked Things takes place in Giant Days world, so now is the best time to check it out if you haven’t! The series was a huge departure from the usual comics while being an immensely great read. If you haven’t read the previous series, check your LCS, as you should. Nonetheless, check out how Giant Days changed Samuel Pratt’s concept of comics.
A MURDER MYSTERY BEGINS
Yes, Wicked Things #1 takes place in Allison’s previous universe, yet at no time will you be lost if you’re new here. Instead, Allison spends the first issue effectively setting the plot, characters, and the world. We’re introduced to everyone’s favorite child detective – Charlotte Grote – and her most recent case: growing up. As with any child detective, at one point, they become a teenage detective, then a full-grown detective—hopefully. During the first few pages, Allison establishes Grote’s personality and a bit of her history for the readers.
Once Wicked Things #1 moves to the hotel where the “teen detective of the year” award is hosted, Allison starts to introduce a multitude of characters. Each of these characters mirrors their place of origin in their clothing and mannerisms: a small, yet fun touch. Allison excels at writing side-characters. As each character is introduced, you want to learn more of them, which Allison keeps teasing throughout with small interactions.
Nonetheless, one element stands out, which hopefully will be explored in future issues. Wicked Things revolves around Grote becoming a suspect of murder. This occurs due to her being lured in by the translator of another famous detective, who previously had a fantastic interaction with Grote that sets this scene up. But alas, the whole “set-up” feels too staged, with quite a few questions coming up. Why Grote? Was it meant to be her? Could it have been anyone? How’d they know she’d fall for it?
The set-up all felt lucky that it even transpired as such. Luckily, this is a detective story, so all that will come to fruition in time.
THE MYSTERY IS IN THE DETAIL
Sarin’s art matched with Allison’s writing continues to bring the panels to life with lovely energy. Whenever a panel calls for a character to react to something transpiring, Sarin makes sure you can see the emotion strained across their face and body. Yet, in some scenes, they draw the character overreacting in an anime-esque style that further emphasizes how they feel. Throughout Wicked Things #1, this style caters to the visual gags making the jokes land quite well. However, this isn’t the only place Sarin’s art stands out, as their panels include quite a bit of detail. In other words, a perfect style to have for a detective story.
Also returning from Giant Days is colorist, Whitney Cogar, whose bold colors help bring Sarin’s pages to life. As Sarin includes a variety of details, Cogar makes sure each stands out independently with color. Another element she brings to the pages are the single color panels. During these moments, she helps the object pop by adding a shade behind it that never takes away from the foreground.
When Allison introduces the side characters and the country, letterer Jim Campbell adds the information above their heads. The way Campbell displays the information feels like what you’d see in BBC’s Sherlock, which is a pleasant touch. In some moments, when characters overact or are seen doing certain movements, Campbell adds onomatopoeia that helps amplify what they’re doing.
WICKED THINGS ARE AFOOT
Wicked Things #1 had one huge hurdle to get through once it was announced; be on par, or greater than Giant Days. With such a huge series in the rear-view mirror, people are sure to compare the two due to it being the same team. Yet, Wicked Things is a whole different beast. Fans of the team’s previous work will find something to love, while newcomers will too. If it keeps this momentum it could very well be your next favorite detective comic.