Diggle and Campbell team up for Uncanny crime series

Uncanny Issue 1 Jock cover

Next Wednesday Dynamite Comics is releasing Issue #1 of a new crime series, called Uncanny.  Writer Andy Diggle and artist Aaron Campbell offer up a modern noir story about a flawed yet oddly powerful American named Weaver set in modern-day Singapore.  Uncanny is similar in many ways to many recent crime monthly comic book series.  It’s an edgy, action noir mixed with pulp spy novel crime story that will appeal to fans of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Fatale, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets, and Jason Aaron and RM Guera’s Scalped.

The update of 1930s-1940s film noir to the modern city is intriguing.  Diggle’s Weaver seems capable of being a variant on James Bond–rugged, overconfident–yet instead of running after the bad guy by all accounts Weaver seems to have created his own problems leaving him to be the man on the run.  Campbell’s art deftly balances the bright lights of the city with the night-time dark tone of a man somehow caught up in the city’s underbelly.  And Campbell’s first issue of the story is heavily influenced by both the recent Bond films Casino Royale and Skyfall.  In fact, his characters, the style and setting are similar to Mike Grell’s James Bond: Permission to Die mini-series.

Uncanny Issue 1 Dan Panosian cover

In good noir style, he is shunned by one attractive woman only to be saved by another in a scene with a motorcyclist out of the recent film A Good Day to Die Hard.  The only noir element missing from Issue #1 is a flickering neon sign flashing outside a seedy hotel.

The “uncanny” of the title unmistakably lends a bit of direction to the superpowers of heroes like the X-Men.  And, indeed, we get a glint of a power of sorts from Weaver.  Like Shawn in the TV series Psych, who pretends to be a psychic when he instead just has very well-honed powers of observation, Weaver seems strangely attuned to pick up on the skill sets of those around him.  In Issue #1 this allows Weaver the opportunity to use some martial arts skill to take out a thug set on his tail for walking out on a huge gambling debt.  That said, Issue #1, which is part One of the “Season of Hungry Ghosts” story arc, doesn’t give away much to explain the nature of this “power.”  So far the power is subtle, and Uncanny does not have the look or feel of a superhero book.  The title “Season of Hungry Ghosts” comes from an actual Halloween-like month long celebration in Singapore.

Uncanny Issue 1 Sean Phillips cover

Uncanny also belongs in the same class of good titles from Dynamite with similar storylines but set in classic settings of the past, like Masks, Black Bat, and Miss Fury.  If crime stories are your thing, plenty of series are in print today that should keep you busy, and Dynamite seems to be cornering the market on the genre.

Look for variant covers by long-time Diggle collaborator (and Green Arrow Year One co-creator) Jock, Dan Panosian, and Fatale and Criminal artist Sean Phillips.

Uncanny, Issue #1, hits comic book stores Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

C.J. Bunce

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