Move Over Nancy, Charlotte is on the Case! WICKED THINGS #1 Review
WICKED THINGS #1
From Nancy Drew to Veronica Mars to Goldie Vance, stories featuring young female detectives have almost been done to death. In order for new stories of this type to stand out, they have to feature a strong and interesting lead character. Luckily, that’s just what the creative team delivers in Wicked Things #1. Within the first few pages I fell in love with teenage detective Charlotte Grote. If that name sounds familiar to you, then you must be a fan of the works of John Allison (Bad Machinery, Giant Days). Charlotte has been a recurring character in Allison’s comics since the early 2000’s. Now Charlotte gets her own series with Wicked Things #1.
This first issue follows Charlotte and her best friend Claire as they travel to Sleuthcon, an award ceremony that honors detectives. Charlotte is a successful teenage detective, but she’s not a household name when compared to some of the other youth detectives who are attending Sleuthcon. Of course the other young detectives quickly point this out to Charlotte. However, she’s able to brush off their comments after running into her hero, Japan’s greatest detective Kendo Miyamoto. My favorite scene in the entire issue involves Kendo’s translator purposely mis-translating the conversation between Miyamoto and Charlotte. This scene injected some humor into what was becoming, up to that point in the plot, a dialogue heavy story. Unfortunately, Charlotte doesn’t get to enjoy spending time with her idol as soon after meeting him, she’s framed for murder.
The characters are the strongest aspect of this first issue. Charlotte is a refreshingly multi-dimensional character. Throughout the first issue the reader gets to see her express a plethora of emotions from tough to sassy to vulnerable. I really enjoyed the way Allison introduced the other young detectives, who have come to Sleuthcon from all over the world. It will be interesting to see how these other detectives factor into the series’ main mystery. Allison does a good job of leaving open ended which of the characters may have been involved in the murder and which characters might end up helping Charlotte prove her innocence.
The art in Wicked Things is very visually appealing. The artwork reminded me of a cross between the animation styles of Invader Zim and Lilo & Stitch. Artist Max Sarin excels at drawing facial reactions. These facial expressions perfectly convey emotion while staying true to Sarin’s cartoon-y style. The characters are easily distinguishable from one another and the visuals fit perfectly into the flow of the story. Every panel has a splash of color and a flushed out background. Sarin also does a great job of drawing a realistic bag of Haribo gummy bears. Though I have to say, this random product placement really baffled me.
Objectively, Wicked Things #1 is a high quality first issue. Charlotte’s toughness and intelligence make her an awesome main character. The supporting cast is not only unique, but also large enough to provide plenty of suspects who may be involved in the murder for which Charlotte is being framed. The artwork is clear, fun, and bright. All of that being said, I doubt I’ll follow this series past the first issue. Although I liked this issue, it didn’t really leave me wanting more. However, my experience after reading this comic is most assuredly not indicative of the experience most readers will have after their first reading. This comic may not have engaged me personally, but I’m sure it will resonate with many different comic book readers. Wicked Things #1 is the perfect comic for fans of strong female characters, detective stories, or the work of John Allison.
The perfect comic for fans of strong female characters, detective stories, or the work of John Allison.