Scoop–New graphic novel series introduces the next teen sleuth

Review by C.J. Bunce

Today a new young heroine arrives in the pages of a graphic novel called Scoop.  In Volume 1 with the first story arc titled “Breaking News,” we meet Sophie Cooper, a 14-year-old Cuban-American high school student in Miami.  It’s not the red hair and freckles that make her an outsider, it’s her dad.  He’s under investigation by a local bank for money laundering–under house arrest he’s trapped in his own home with an ankle monitor, while Sophie’s mother serves as a lawyer in the mayor’s office.  Sophie is ostracized by her peers at school and decides to take an internship with a local TV station in the hopes that she can learn something to help prove her dad is not what everyone says he is.  Sophie can’t help but make friends along the way, including a has-been TV anchor at the least popular station in town, who proves to be more valuable than she could have imagined.  While investigating a lead they encounter a strange otherworldly force that wrecks his car, and an undersea creature who helps her escape a pursuer who thinks she is getting too close to the truth.

“Scoop” becomes Sophie Cooper’s clever handle, her nickname (the first letter of her first name and first four letters of her last name), assigned to her by the news station.  Scoop has the framework to become the next Liv Moore from iZombie or Veronica Mars.  Sophie gravitates more toward the Veronica Mars angle–your basic teen crime detective–since this first volume primarily introduces the main characters, but writer Richard Hamilton and artist Joseph Cooper plant the seeds for a supernatural, X-Files-inspired future for the teen sleuth.

The imagery features a dose of Burn Notice style from the investigation plot, Miami setting, and locals that pop up in the series’ first 96 pages.  Also like iZombie, this is a story and characters not springing from a major comic book universe, so anyone can climb onboard from page one.  Sophie Cooper is exactly the kind of character you might see show up in a year or two on the CW Network, engaging and bright, with her precocious younger brother as an assistant she can tap into the latest technology to hone her investigative skills.

Hamilton’s story is a bit autobiographical, as he plays off events and past real-life encounters surrounding his own internship with CNN in Miami years ago just as the network began investigating the murder of fashionista Gianni Versace.  This graphic novel also introduces Sophie Cooper to a similar murder early on in her internship.

Sophie is written in a familiar voice that will appeal to fans of teen mysteries.  Sometimes she goes too far and ends up in places that aren’t safe, other times she is the one holding the cards and using those around her to get the information she needs.  It’s easy to fantasy-cast the supporting characters for Scoop, particularly Veronica Mars regulars Daran Norris as news anchor Hal Ritz and Max Greenfield as network source Usnavy (pronounced “oohs-nah-vee”).

Here are some pages from the book:

The nice color work is provided by Peter Pantazis and Alba Cardona.

A solid new teen sleuth story that will be a fun addition to the detective/teen crime genre, for pre-teens and through adult readers, Scoop Volume 1:  Breaking News, is available today from Insight Comics at your local comic book store or order it here at Amazon.

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