August 9, 2011


(FULL DISCLOSURE - Electronic copies of The Blue Estate issues 1 - 5 were provided for review)

A recovering woman who's married to a major action star.....a private investigator attempting to live in the shadow of his father....and various other lesser hands, writing a multi-character crime story might end up veering dangerously towards parody, or becoming a sheer mess.

Thankfully, having read a preview of The Blue Estate issue 5 (coming out tomorrow), I can honestly say that this is one of the more refreshing comic reads, and is a unique blend of humor, noir-ish tyle, and hard hitting action.

Much of the success of the book is due to Viktor Kalvachev's writing - each issue is relatively self-contained, yet manages to move the story forward without needless exposition. There's a deftness to the storytelling - it moves along at just the right pace. It also helps that there are liberal sprinklings of slightly-black humor - this kind of material could have easily veered into Boondock Saints territory, but The Blue Estate manages to be humorous enough not to take itself seriously...but serious enough to really show the extremes.

Think of it this way - in The Blue Estate # 5, there are scenes involving garden gnomes, wigs, and termites. These scenes could have come across as typical crime drama cliches, but somehow come across more as noir with a slightly self-knowing grin on its face. The art team - Kalvachev, Andrew Osbourne, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, and Robert Valley - manage to create a strong sense of realism and atmosphere while maintaining a relatively light color palate.

When you get to your comics shop tomorrow, you might want to give The Blue Estate a chance. I would also suggest picking up 1 - 4 as back issues (you'll need it for background - thankfully, I had electronic copies to play catch-up). The Blue Estate is one of the better written comics that does what the best multi-character arcs should do: get you to the next issue.

Very highly recommended.

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