Advance Review – Of The Same Coin #1

Created By: Michael Finnie, Graham Rammell
Writer: Michael Finnie
Artwork: Geoff Mosse
Colours: David B Cooper
Letters: Ken Reynolds
Release Date: Coming to Kickstarter on March 1st

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… well, not the A-Team, but you may be able to procure for a reasonable fee the services of one Dominic Gauche and his associates.

Gauche and his team are a firm of assassins for hire, but a firm of assassins with a code. You see, they don’t just take any job, they have a sense of morality and they specialise in handling those cases where the guilty have escaped justice. On the other side of the coin, as it were, is Detective Inspector Tommy Wright, the unflinching, unwavering and, some would say fanatical servant of crown and country.

Having newly taken over the team dedicated to bringing to justice the likes of Dom Gauche, DI Wright soon finds that the resources he has at his disposal are not the brightest and the best, but he won’t let that stop his crusade, even though the distinction between the white and the black hats becomes increasingly grey.

This is a neat British noir/police drama/thriller which serves as Mike Finnie’s impressive debut in the comic industry. It’s rare to see this genre set in the UK – the US seems to have the monopoly on these kind of stories, with the likes of Brubaker & Phillips having been the dominant team for decades – and it’s nice to see something set in England for a change. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really, really good thrillers out there from UK writers, and I talk about them on this page a lot, but a British police thriller is a rare thing.

This first issue is reminiscent of Michael Mann’s Heat, but with a cast built from the gritty British drama shows of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Off the top of my head, Christopher Fairbanks or Mark McManus would make a great Tommy Wright, and Bernard Hill or Trevor Eve, or even a young John Thaw, would be great as Dom Gauche.

The pacing is good throughout, and I like the very distinct line between the world of Wright and Gauche. Wright’s world is stark, monochrome and harsh, and has no smoothed edges, whereas Gauche’s world is warmer, brighter and more optimistic, and this seems to jibe with the moral code that the assassins work to.

The development of the lead protagonist/antagonist is good, and delivers some solid and believable characters packed with grit and fire. I’d have perhaps liked to see more about the supporting cast, but this after all is the first issue so I suppose I’m just being greedy.

This is a theme that is brought very clearly in to focus in the artwork, and the artwork in this issue is pretty good, with some enjoyable panel layouts and cinematic framing. There is a suitably gritty feel to the artwork that makes the characters seem real, especially in the quieter moments. There are a few occasions where the artwork didn’t really land for me, but by that same token there are some moments in the artwork that are very good, where I stopped and thought, “wow, that’s clever”.

Is this issue perfect? No. I think it could perhaps do with a little bit of extra polishing, but it is good. It has a great premise, the writing is tense while still being fun to read and the artwork overall is good. This first issue is coming to Kickstarter soon, and I think it’s definitely worth your time and money. Having read the first issue I’m really looking forward to the next one.

Personally, I’d like to see this as a fully-fledged GN, for me it’s certainly got the strength behind the story to be published as a complete edition rather than being serialised (plus I’m really impatient and like to read the whole story at once).

Rating: 3/5.

The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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