Advance Review – Mystery Girl #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Alberto Albuquerque
Release Date: 2nd December 2015

Apparently all you need to do is put a mystery in front of Trine Hampstead and she can solve it.  She just doesn’t know how.

I like a good mystery, and let me start by saying that this is almost a brilliant book.  Its good fun, it has a couple of mysteries to be solved and it introduces us to a pretty cool character.  Trine Hampstead, the Mystery Girl in question

Paul Tobin is a very accomplished writer, he has won the Eisner-award for Bandette, as well as writing hundreds of books for most of the big players in the industry, including Marvel and DC.  You don’t get to do that without skills and some tradecraft.   He consistently and rightly scores highly in reviews here at BCP and I have to say, Prometheus: Fire and Stone is one of the best books I have read this year.

Unfortunately, it seems that maybe his research tradecraft has let him down a little here.

He is starting Mystery Girl out as a quintessentially British thing, there’s a Union Jack on page two, and its set in London.  All good so far.  Then things start to make me itchy.  Trine helps out a woman by telling her that her dog’s favourite toy bounced into a gutter and rolled into the sewer.  It’s conceivable that a “drain” cover was off.

An elderly Indian woman looking for the long departed husband was told by Trine that she should go to specific coordinates in Vietnam, where she finally can put the past to bed when she finds her beloved’s dog tags.  It is conceivable that the missing husband was one of maybe a handful of British troops in Vietnam.

“Trine never leaves the Sidewalk” we are told. It’s conceivably the speaker who tells her friend this could be an American in London.  Trine tells a cop that the crook he was chasing threw his gun into a sewer just off Valentia and Coldharbour. It’s conceivable that we have started to talk about the streets of London in the same way they talk about the streets of San Francisco.

At least Trine’s friend was having a burger and chips.

And that’s what made me itch.  Tobin knows that there are differences in idiom between the good ol’ US-of-A and Cool Britannia, he just doesn’t know or care that there are more differences that chips and fries.

All that being said, the story builds beautifully and Trine was really easy to connect with and I do want to know what happens next.

Alberto J Albuquerque (Letter 44) is an artist who is new to me, but I liked his bold style and strong facial expressions.  His work fits very neatly with the character building that Tobin has done so well.

I wanted to give the book a really high score, I really did. There are so many things in it that I liked; but the itch won’t let me.  Mr Tobin, if you are reading this, I love your work, but please, speak to a Brit before you try more “Britspeak”.


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The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil.

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