AKA #2

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2003
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of AKA #2 Writer(s): Dara Naraghi
Artist(s): Steve Black
Publishers: Ferret Press (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $3.00 (US), or $5 for #1 + #2. (Prices ppd in USA, overseas postage slightly higher.)

Two young female private eyes have been hired to retrieve an embarrassing tape for their client. There methods meet with some success, but after viewing the tape they realise that this case is more complicated than they were led to believe.

The basic aim with a PI story is to pass on to the reader the details of a crime in such a way that they don't quite understand who did what until the final denouncement. Before this, the reader is being dropped hints and shown a range of people who might or might not be the crook. In a basic plot The PI is a vehicle for the exposition of the facts, with perhaps some moral philosophy thrown in along the way. To make things interesting we might get a dose of action, or we might find some interesting characters.

AKA's extra's are the dialogue between the two P.I.'s. Their long friendship and working relationship allows for entertaining interplay as they remind each other of the good, bad and funny experiences from other cases. It's amusing banter from a couple of likeable characters that are original and still effective detectives.

The plotting moves at a good tempo from retrieving the tape to watching in and the further investigation this triggers. A couple of near captures create some tension as the tape found. As a surprise discover along with an unwanted return of a suspect give the book two cliff-hangers to end off on.

With the emphasis on investigating rather than violence the book relies on dialogue, so it's a shame to find that the lettering is rough around the edges. Awkward looking speech balloons, and some switching between the use of balloons and text at the end of dashes makes panels messy and the dialogue hard to follow. Either method on its own is fine a mix doesn't work. The layout of text seems haphazard in a couple of panels, as if late edits of the text were crammed in at the last minute.

Steve does better with the artwork, from another great looking cover to interior art that is quirky but still comprehensible. Both the art and the text help to give the book a true to life feel. The people are individuals, not stereotypes.

As an appealing mix of characters, mysterious plots and great art, AKA is a prime suspect for continued surveillance.

In a Word: Arresting..

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