blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Fear Case (2021) #1

Fear case 1

Fear Case is high concept supernatural police procedural, with some asterisks. It’s not exactly police—they’re Secret Service agents—and the supernatural aspects may end up constrained. It’s too soon to tell whether they’re going to go atomic glow, Gwyneth Paltrow’s head, or full Alan Moore’s The Courtyard in the eventual reveal (or if there will be a reveal at all), but writer Matt Kindt does work in some foreshadowing in the second half of the issue.

The issue opens with an opaque introduction to the setup—two Secret Service agents are coming up on their one year working on the coldest of cold cases—the “Fear Case,” a literal case tumbling through the worst places in history, seemingly with causality (no word on Jesus’s moment of doubt and pain but it seems to have been there when Anastasia screamed in vain and then when the blitzkrieg raged). There’s an exposition dump to the next agent who’ll be getting the case (the Secret Service only lets you work on it a year because otherwise you go mad and end up in Jersey alongside the guy from Courtyard) before the heroes go investigate their next lead.

One of the heroes waxes on about coffee beans (thanks Quentin Tarantino, thanks a lot) and the other likes fantasy books (sorry, speculative fiction so we can validate bad ideas). I think we learn their names but they’re just plot movers, albeit ones with some obvious drawbacks given what we learn about the Fear Case. The second half of the issue—days or weeks before they’re out of the case—gives them their first break.

Kindt does an okay enough job making the mystery compelling, but Tyler Jenkins’s moody, sketchy seventies art is the whole draw. No pun intended. Seeing how he scales from gore to glamour, talking heads to procedural, it’s a great looking comic.

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