Writer: Chip Zdarsky / Artist: Jacob Phillips / Image
My introduction to Chip Zdarsky was through Sex Criminals and Unbeatable Squirrel Girls. Looking back, they manage to capture such a wideband spectrum of comics it’s kinda awe-inspiring. It’s easy to think of Zdarksy as a comic writer given chaotic Twitter presence, but the fact remains that Zdarsky is more than capable of writing drama (see his current Daredevil run) and horror (see his other Image comic, Stillwater) excellently. Now, Newburn #1 is yet another excellent exhibit of these fact.
The titular Newburn of Newburn is Easton Newburn, an independent private detective whose non-affiliation with any organization (criminal or otherwise) allows him to drift in and out of high-profile crime scenes. And at the start of Newburn #1, it’s a mafia murder.
I remain a sucker for a good film noir and a good detective story. Newburn fits a classical rogue detective archetype that’s not unfamiliar, but Zdarsky manages to write him with a flair for dramatic and charisma. It’s really hard not to be enthralled by the authority of this random man that seemingly upsets everyone he manages to come in contact with.
And as Newburn begins his investigations, we get glimpses into the world and the perspective of other characters that flesh out the scope of the world nicely. Newburn #1 tantalize us with all of the criminal intrigue elements you could hope for. Pair that with Phillips’s absolutely spot on tonal interpretation of noir crime procedural, you have the makings of a very solid introduction into the world.
While there are times where the Newburn #1 feels beholden to convention and trope, the artistry and writing are just of a stellar quality that it carries your interest and investment, especially during the last act.
I’m very excited to see future entries of Newburn. Zdarsky’s comedic and dramatic chops continue to shine resplendently, and Phillips’s art helps articulate the world wonderfully. Fans of noir and procedures, you’re gonna wanna make sure this one is on your pull list.
9.0 “Not-So Friendly Neighbors” out of 10