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SPY ISLAND #1 review – A Psychedelic Bond-like Adventure (Cain, Miternique, McCall, Rosenberg, Caramagna) Dark Horse Comics

Thanks to Dark Horse Comics for the review copy!

SPY ISLAND is a tough book to categorize, but a fun book to read. The best way I can describe it is to say SPY ISLAND is a curious cross between a spy story and a surreal supernatural thriller. The vast majority of the issue features a super spy named Nora Freud. The book gives off a vintage James Bond tone, both in terms of storytelling and art direction. While the time period the book is set is is somewhat ambiguous, the characters’ wardrobes (and body hair), the dialogue, and the book’s color scheme evokes the 1970s. With that said, there are references to things like the internet that make you question when this story takes place. The result is a kind of dissonance that keeps you off balance and makes you want to investigate further.

Using a first person narration technique, issue one does an excellent job of introducing Nora and the strange cast of characters she is surrounded by.  Like James Bond, Nora is cool, calm, and collected. She also seems to share Bond’s attitude towards the opposite sex. What sets SPY ISLAND apart from other spy stories is its setting – an Island in the Bermuda Triangle.  This is where the surreal supernatural elements come in. A group called “The Bermuda Triangle Presentation Society” and its “Stop Mermaid Harassment” initiative play a role in the issue. Interestingly, this is not treated as if it is unusual, which adds to the intrigue surrounding this title.

In addition to its psychedelic coloring, SPY ISLAND employs a technique I have not seen in comics. A few panels have photorealistic pictures that stand in stark contrast to the rest of the book. I am curious to see if these panels have any special meaning in the future. 

While not overly violent, this book is geared towards adults. This issue has sexual references (or one really big one), that leads me to recommend parents read this first before sharing with their children. The pace is probably better suited for mature readers as well. Things do happen, but the issue is primarily focused on setting things up for the series. With that said, if you are into spy movies and are interested in something with a X-Files bend to it, SPY ISLAND is the book for you.

SPY ISLAND #1 is set for release on September 2nd.

Check back in a few weeks for my thoughts on issue 2 of this series.

Are you going to pick up this title? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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