Complex City: All in a Day's Work |
by J.E. Smith
(Better Comics, 2003)
A walking, talking bulldog cop? An adolescent scientific genius with a mechanical gauntlet capable of detecting radiation? An older, even more brilliant scientist named Doctor Handsome?? All this, plus a lovesick superhero, a rampaging robot with two human brains, and magical (at least they'd like you to think they are) "critters" from near the Earth's core!!
This is the recipe for a decidedly different comic book called Complex City. Early issues of the series, originally printed in 2000, have been reprinted in a new collection, All in a Day's Work.
Inspector Bulldog Malone is the hard-boiled top cop of a place called, well, Complex City. One of the most advanced, and popular cities in the nation, it also has more than it's share of weirdness; but then, what would you expect from a burg that boasts a two-footed canine cop?
J.E. Smith is the creator, writer and artist of this strangely appealing comic, and, in my try-to-be-humble opinion, he's on to something.
The first issue does a respectable job of introducing new readers to the city and its main players, as well as providing a solid amount of story, as Malone confronts and outsmarts a shadowling, discovers the contents of the box it was safeguarding and is confronted by a murderous man-robot. The following three issues are also strong on storyline and characterization, which seems to be Smith's strong suit.
What's good about this book? Besides characterization and storyline, the sheer scope of imagination and bold originality, which, in today's comic market, is a near-miracle in itself.
What needs work is the art. Smith's pencils, while well-defined and of original style, still have a very amateurish look about them, which may hinder the book from competing with other comic works out there. Still, Complex City is unlike any other comic work on the racks today, and is recommended for readers of all ages.