"ReincarNATE" #1 from Heavy Metal, Inc. -
Nate McCoy is a hard-nosed, cynical gumshoe, an ex-cop turned private-eye. This fact alone doesn't win him any likability points with his ex-crime-fighting colleagues...Especially not the ones that are in the pockets of the local big baddie, El Panda. El Panda's got the cops so shaken, that they don't even want to say his name. But Nate? He's not shaken. Not by a long shot. When Nate takes a case to find one Tatiana Kreschen, the trail leads straight to the dead body of her bowling coach, a trail that points Nate right in the direction of El Panda. However, before he can follow the breadcrumbs, a would-be assassin puts a bullet right between Nate's eyes - a bullet that should have ended both the investigation, and Nate's life. But it didn't. Nate awakens in the hospital under the watchful eyes of a cowboy sheriff, and a hitman, both of whom talk to Nate, both of whom no one else can see. Has he gone nuts, or can these two spectres help him do what no one else can: find Tatiana, and take down El Panda once and for all?
"ReincarNate" #1 is an intriguing hard-boiled detective story, with either a supernatural twist or a psychological twist. Which one manifests remains to be seen. What we do know is that the protagonist, Nate McCoy is fun character - he is a smart-mouthed, cavalier, brave do-gooder who is all about finishing the job, saving the girl, and taking down the bad guys. I dig that. The story itself has an interesting premise - I wonder if the author, Michael Moreci, has ever read A.J. Lieberman's and Riley Rossmo's "Cowboy, Ninja, Viking" which showcases a protagonist with a similar ailment/power. "ReincarNate" #1 quickly recalled "Cowboy, Ninja Viking" to my mind, and how much I missed that series. I love stories that explore the human psyche and its flaws, and how those flaws just might be made to benefit the protagonist or antagonist. What I absolutely did not like about the comic was Keith Burns' artwork, not that it was bad, just that it was stiffer and more basic than anything that I was expecting to find in the pages of a book published by Heavy Metal, Inc.. "Heavy Metal" magazine (along with the French magazine that spawned it, Métal Hurlant) is synonymous with avante-garde sci-fi stories, and masterful artwork, such as that done by legendary French artist of the bande-dessinée, Moebius. Artwork aside, "ReincarNate" gave a strong enough showing to bring me back for a second issue - it's got a simmering coolness to it that I really dig. It has potential; if it is done right, I could see it on the big or small screen.
RATING: 7.5 out of 10 (but only because of the art). Better pencils would bump it up to a solid 8.
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