I'm back to the regular posting slot that I'd planned after the previous mid-week post about Rebecca: Tales from Resonant. Of course, while I had planned to fit my thoughts on that comic into this post, I just had so many thoughts in my head that I just needed to get them out as soon as possible.
Since then, I've reached the weekend and, with it, my wedding anniversary which, along with regular life activities, almost forced me to miss out on reading another comic. It also didn't help that my youngest decided to stop sleeping at night, forcing me to live the entire weekend as so tired that information just wasn't entering my head.
Fortunately, despite this rather crowded and sleep-deprived lifestyle, I did manage to find time to read one comic, which also managed to bring a lot of thoughts to my head.
And that comic was MI666 by Vince Hunt and Andy Bloor. MI666 tells the story of three supernatural investigators working for the Governmental department responsible for defending her majesty's commonwealth (or at least London) from occultist and demonic attacks. However, when the MI666 team are called into assist with a raid on a possible terrorist cell, what they all find is on has them all concerned that some darker and deadlier power is amassing for an attack. Now, with little to go on, the three must threat this attack, which may only be the beginning of something much bigger.
Now, I've always been a fan of both Vince and Andy's work. Andy Bloor's art is some of the most gloriously striking that I've seen, while Vince's scripts, particularly the recent Murder Road, have been some of the most captivating and enjoyable stories. Therefore, seeing something by the two of them had me convinced that this had to be a sure fire winner.
And, for the most part, it is. Andy Bloor's art, as it was in Wolfmen, Andythology and Midnight Man, is stunning in just how gorgeous it is. His style makes me think of the old Universal horror movies, with their black and white look perfectly mirrored by Bloor's work and pretty much confirming himself (at least in my eyes) as the person any comic adaptation of those movies should be drawn by. In fact, looking over every panel of this comic once again made me realise that Andy Bloor is an artist who does not get nearly as much praise as he deserves. Of course, there was one question I had and that was 'whatever was going on with Barlow's glasses and it's alternating dark lens?'
As for the writing, well, I've enjoyed everything I've read of Vince Hunt's (as I previously mentioned), but with MI666 there feels like a serious growth from when I first read his Red Mask from Mars series. Hunt's script felt tighter and sharper and far more suited to the horror genre, just like Murder Road previously said to me. In fact, Hunt's dialogue, like Bloor's art, really feels at home were someone to make Universal monsters comics as it really gave me the sense that this was a more cerebral and thriller-esque story. I also have to say that the entire set up of this story had me thinking it was influenced by the opening scene of the original Hellboy movie, with very English sounding occultists being escorted by a military unit with no understanding of what's going on, but maybe that's just me connecting dots that don't exist.
Of course, Hunt's input doesn't stop there, as his lettering was also phenomenal, specifically with regards to Barlow's 'lesser' half which was equal parts creepy and chilling in my book and really reminded me (in some small way) to the lead character's dynamic from Ken Reynolds and Sam Bentley's Cognition (incidentally, another Beth English horror themed comic). Of course, there is one query from the lettering in that what is Wyvern's surname; Cross or Collins?
So, all in all, I really enjoyed this comic and thought it was very good.
There it is, the dreaded 'but'. Of course, it isn't a terrible thing this time and and it doesn't undo what I've just said 'but' MI666, for as get, engrossing read as it was just felt like it was missing something. After reading through it twice (admittedly, the first time in an exhausted state), it's niggled at me about what is missing in this issue and, I have to admit, I believe it is the notion of 'playing safe'. Tjis comes from the scene of Wyvern's 'interrogation' where the scene occurs with Bridgett and Barlow outside the room instead of treating us to what is happening indoors. Indeed, I thought this is a consistent trope throughout as we are only ever hinted at the trio's 'badassery' rather than seeing it in full view.
Which is a shame because so much is hinted at throughout this issue that really makes the team of MI666 feel like immensely compelling characters. These include:
What's going on with Barlow? Is he possessed/inhabited? How did that happen?
Cross has a unique look, makes me think there is a story behind him ( probably something tragic)
Is that jar going to be a thing later?
The reference to Blood magic, is that going to be a problem later set up for later?
And likely more besides which I probably missed.
This does sound a little too negative in truth (and something I swore I wasnt going to do anymore). However, while I guess it is, it comes from a good place because I really liked the concept and execution of MI666 and really want to know what happens next. I guess I'm just hoping that, with this first issue out of the way, they 'unleash the beast' so to speak and show this series and its characters as the powerhouses they undoubtedly are.
Because with a charm and look that this comic has, I'll gladly be back to read each and every issue.