Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Colorist: Stefano Simeone
Lettering: Michah Myers
Release Date: 30th January 2019
Wyrd is a strange one to review in that the whole issue feels just a little… incomplete. There are pieces there, but they don’t seem to quite fit flush with one another, making this first issue seem a bit messy. There are definitely bags of potential there, however.
Peter Wyrd is a detective, albeit a bit of a sadistic and self-centered one. He can’t seem to die – whether this is a magical or meta power we don’t yet know – but he plays with it. In his downtime he likes to attempt to commit suicide, which seems to end in a midnight call to his handler to come and clean up whatever mess he’s made. This is how we meet Peter, and I must admit it’s kind of a cool intro. Very strong graphically, with Antonio Fuso emphasising the breaking of bones and the momentum of the impact. We’re also treated to what I guess is his signature look – a suit over a diamond sweater vest. I thought it was a strong literal and graphical first impression and was quite enthused.
It didn’t last, though. The character of Peter is clearly of the John Constantine mould. Although it’s not explicit that Peter is a magical character (implied by the title), you can’t help but draw parallels to the drinking and smoking walking tragedy that is John C. I think what pushed me over the edge was when Peter referred to a young girl as ‘love.’ It’s just too close a likeness.
Anyway, I digress. Peter gets all the weird jobs that the government can’t, or don’t, want to handle themselves. His motivation seems to be purely monetary, and this episode sends him to Crimea to combat a biological weapon gone wrong. In this case, it’s a failed super soldier experiment, much like a certain well-loved Marvel character.
This is the crux of my problem with Wyrd, it seems to borrow far too heavily from other titles. Imitation is flattery, yes, but you have to take those ideas and make them unique to your story, and there is honestly just not enough of a departure for me here to fully commit.
And yet… Curt Pires is a very talented writer, and there are certain parts of this issue that really showcase his unique style. Peter trying to connect with the monster as a soldier outside his room tells the story of Baba-Yaga to a kid rescued earlier. The story of the monster played out in staggered panels, each with one descriptive word, staggered through the confrontation between Peter and the bio-monster-thing. I thought these to be brilliant story-telling elements.
It’s this contrast which makes reading this comic a bit infuriating. A lot of it is ordinary as we move from plot point A to plot point B, but dotted in between that are moments of genuine interest. Even the art carries this; Antonio is heavy on the black pen, with a lot of shadow and angular lines, then one panel looks organic and out of place, and at another point seems to switch from ink to pencil. It seems like a stylised idea that should fit together, but has just come up a dollar short. I do enjoy the colour work of Stefano Simeone, the red-purple-blue pallet does give a sense of no-quite-of this word, especially his skies.
Wyrd has potential to both interest and maybe infuriate you a little. It’s a start, perhaps not the best, but there is enough here to suggest a direction. A lot of the time you can have too much exposition, Wyrd has too little, but the epilogue lends itself to a wider story in upcoming issues, so I’m not going to write it off just yet.
The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.