Control #1 Advanced Review
Writers: Andy Diggle, Angela Cruikshank
Art: Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov
Covers: Ben Oliver, Giuseppie Camuncoli
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Power corrupts, and absolute power…..blah blah blah. We all know the drill. In Washington D.C. politics and crime are related like distant cousins. Those with all the power control the laws and also the media in order to spin whatever story they see fit so they remain in power and in control. For the cops, trying to stop crime committed by the 1% can be a deadly game. Control is a new comic book that reminds us that We the People have enemies in high places.
Control #1 is a new crime mystery similar to cop dramas like CSI and Law and Order. And like most hard-boiled detective stories, Control #1 begins with a murder. Detective Kate Burnham and her partner Mitch respond to a multiple homicide where 2 cops and a hung man are found in an apartment. One cop survives but Mitch is killed by the suspect who seems to be a professional hitman. This blows open what was supposed to be a fake suicide turned into a conspiracy involving a politician trying to push a controversial privacy law. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men are going to have a rough time picking up all these pieces.
The storyline for this first issue sucks the reader into the mysterious intrigue. The plot moves forward at break-neck speed, setting up the foundation for a complex conspiracy. This type of story may be difficult to translate in comic form as it moves faster than most police drama TV shows, but that is a good thing as it keeps the audience engaged in the mystery. As a comic book, Control keeps pushing the story forward and wastes no time with dull procedures.
The character development is subtle in the fast paced plot but it is there. Kate is a black woman police detective caught in the middle of a huge murder investigation that seems to be pointing to the upper high society of D.C.’s political landscape. Along with ridicule from her fellow officers, this will not be an easy job for her. Other than the obvious race issue, themes of classism and political corruption are apparent in this book, as is the Privacy Law, that one senator is pushing which may lead to debates on freedom vs. privacy and how much control the government should have over our personal lives.
The art in this comic is simple and effective. The characters are drawn with a gritty style that reflects the street level criminal world. The sketchy lines highlight the story’s thin veil of conspiracy and the colors add ominous textures that are effective for the enigmatic plotline. The panels are also very well composed as they make good use of negative space to reflect the shadowy design of the mystery.
Overall Control #1 is an effective first entry in this series. It launches into the murder mystery with a fast pace that keeps the reader engaged. The art totally focuses on the gritty underworld of the streets and the corrupt, shadowy façade of political secrets. Fans of TV cop dramas like Law and Order may find this book interesting. The political conspiracy seems fitting for our current social climate. Just like the ideas brought up in the Captain America movies, Control begs us to ask questions about our government and laws and is sure to start a conversation.