“You ask me of 1962? Of the KGB? These are old things. You speak of old men. All of the old men I knew are dead.” – From the opening of PIGS #1
The first image you see in the political thriller “PIGS“ (written by Nate Cosby & Ben McCool, with art by Breno Tamura) is of a U.S. Coast Guard boat shining a spotlight on the dark, nighttime waters off the Miami Coast. There’s something hiding out there in the shadows – something dangerous – something that wishes to remain undiscovered. The scene then switches to Washington D.C., where an old woman is being interrogated by a police detective. He is also looking for something – something vital – something that could determine whether people live…or die.
Once writers Cosby & McCool guide readers through the set-up of their new book from Image Comics, they slowly start peeling back the layers and revealing tantalizing bits about the title characters, a family of Cold War-era Russian spies who have come out from deep cover to carry out a devastating mission on U.S. soil. Using non-linear storytelling much like a magician shuffling a deck of cards, they reveal plot details in pieces before returning it to the deck and pulling out another. PIGS the kind of comic book that encourages you to read it twice, even three times, and rewards you with a better understanding of events each time through.
The art chores are handled quite ably by Tamura who brings a gritty, dark style to the visuals. The characters and locales are drawn realistically; and one of his character designs seems to suggests that he’d cast Helen Mirren in the film version of the comic. (Maybe I’m just reading too much into that. Ha! Now I’m seeing things in the shadows.)
By the time you get to the final reveal – one doozy of a cliffhanger ending if there ever was one – you know exactly the stakes in this game that Cosby, McCool and Tamura are playing. Or do you? Now that I think about it, I have a feeling that these guys have a few more tricks up their sleeves.
Ultimately, the challenge for this book lies not only in telling a good story, but also finding an audience. While thrillers of this ilk never seem to want for interest in prose novels, movies and television, with few exceptions they tend to go unnoticed in comic books. And with all the recent hoopla surrounding superheroes in the mainstream comics, a book like this can get lost in the murky waters of the comics market. This book deserves to have a spotlight shining on it and to be discovered.
I give “PIGS” a Geek Factor rating of 3 1/2 strips of bacon out of 4. (mmmmmm…bacon.)
PIGS #1 goes on sale Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at comic shops everywhere.
PIGS #1 ($2.99) Nate Cosby & Ben McCool (writers); Breno Tamura (artist); Christopher Sotomayor (colors); Rus Wooton (letters & design)