Killing Pickman #1 of 6
Written by Jason Becker
Illustrated by Jon Rea
Lettering by Matt Talbot
Archaia Studios Press
Cover Price: $3.50; Available Now
Detective William Zhu has been on a missing children’s case for quite some time, combing through scraps of information hoping to find a clue. When he begins canvassing the neighborhood of a recently missing young girl, he is quite warmly invited into Mr. Pickman’s house to ask a few questions. But as soon as Zhu takes a look around Pickman’s house, with his countless trinkets of posed children and creepy demure, Zhu knows he has found his man. And Pickman knows that he has been found, too. As soon as Zhu attempts to arrest Pickman, he shows the powers that he has acquired from sacrificing children to a demon over the past thirty years. Through sheer luck, Zhu is able to put six bullets into Pickman’s chest, and discovers the missing girl in the basement. And even with gunshot wounds, Pickman still lives and is expected to recover. But more importantly, Zhu knows in his heart that he cannot allow that to happen.
Smearing Seven, television cop dramas, and the child-killing Billy Kincaid from Spawn across a color palate of blue and gun-steel, writer Jason Becker and artist Jon Rea set out give the standard and familiar cop-pushed-too-far storyline a supernatural injection. The pair have brought into existence the beginnings of a viciously creepy tale, with the art and story complimenting one another in spine-tingling perfection.
The story revolves around Zhu, and if the tone of the first issue is any indication, Becker plans on beating his downtrodden cop to a pulp before the final page of the final issue of this six-part miniseries. With a glimpse at Zhu’s family life, and with Pickman’s choice of victim, it can be fairly certain that Zhu’s decisions to go vigilante are most ill-timed. Pickman himself is as nerve-shaking as they come, with a smile and a easy-going charm that he attempts to push as genuine, but with a purely evil soul hiding behind a grin that spreads out just a bit too wide.
With much of the story’s nooks and crannies exposed via the art, Rea has a very important role in giving the book just the right atmosphere. His color palate choice of blues and grays sets the readers mind in just the right frame. And the sketchy off-kilter artwork further enhances what is surely to be a grim and unhappy adventure for Zhu. Each panel is crudely squared off, like an unsteady hand was attempted to draw a box as best they could. And for a few pages, the panels are “taped” to the page with masking tape like some demented scrapbook, again giving an air of pure insanity. Rea also leaves several gruesome images to the reader’s imagination, at least for now, and with all the details being held back, we foam at the mouth wanting to know everything.
Becker and Rea bait the reader with a gripping “to be continued…” that is sure to have most pulp crime junkies foaming at the mouth for more. Zhu is about to get a glimpse through the window to Hell, and damn if these two don’t set it all up so that we can’t help but want to take a look ourselves.
Available at the Mile High Comics.