Review by C.J. Bunce
Truer to the classic pulp crime comic book genre than the likes of recent monthlies like Fatale or Velvet, writer Ande Parks and artist Esteve Polls are bringing back those 1930s-1950s stories once found in the pages of Crime Does Not Pay and Crime SuspenStories with their new series Seduction of the Innocent. Comic book collectors and historians will recognize the title from Frederic Wertham’s infamous anti-comic book diatribe, and Dynamite Entertainment is playing off that shocker moniker here to good effect.
Behind the title is the classic pulp noir storytelling we were fans of in IDW Publishing’s recent throwback mini-series The X-Files: Year Zero reviewed previously here at borg.com. As with old crime magazines, you’ll find “horrific tales of true crime”–murders and crime scenes–as advertised yet “horrific” from more of a 1950s eye than a Tarantino-esque blood-splattering as found in most current crime series. Writer Parks pulls from his broad knowledge of crime stories and history to begin a story that could have taken place in Anytown U.S.A., but he has chosen a San Francisco FBI office from 1953 as his starting point.
Not only is Parks known for his artwork on Green Arrow and El Diablo, Parks has had critical success writing true crime accounts including Union Station, Capote in Kansas, and Ciudad, as well as work on classic favorite characters Kato, The Lone Ranger, and Zorro.
Artist Esteve Polls evokes that straightforward “just the facts, ma’am” Dragnet style look with his panel renderings, which blends nicely with Parks’ story.
Here’s the publisher’s synopsis of the series:
FBI Agent Thomas Jennings has just arrived in the city, fresh-faced and ready to tackle crime in the big city… he thinks. In fact, Jennings is not nearly prepared for what he’s about to encounter. The city’s crime lords are being systematically murdered, and the killers waiting to fill the void are the pure stuff of Jennings’ nightmares. Jennings will be forced to question every belief he holds dear to protect his wife and unborn child from the madness.
The series features great retro cover at by Francesco Francavilla. Seduction of the Innocent, Issue #1 is now available at comic book shops everywhere.