Spies: The Most Important Element in Water – SPY ISLAND #1 Review
Spy Island #1
Creators: Chelsea Cain & Lia Miternique
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artist: Elise McCall
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Published by Dark Horse Comics
My first thought when I opened this comic was, “Oooh pretty colors.” Visually stimulated, I dove into the waters of Spy Island #1. By the end of the book, I felt like I was missing something. This new limited series from the creators of Man-Eaters has a really intriguing concept. A group of spies from many different countries and agencies are stationed on an island. That island is in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. In the Bermuda Triangle, anything can happen. From alien activity, to undead pirates, to mermaid attacks, anything is possible. It is the spies’ job to monitor these strange occurrences and report any useful information to their handlers.
After an attention grabbing opening, we meet the main character of Spy Island, super spy Nora Freud. Nora is strong and sexy and the reader quickly realizes her expertise at spy craft. The island is home to an incredibly diverse group of spies. In future issues, any one of these supporting characters could add their own unique flavor to the story at any given time. This comic may have a great cast of characters, but its story doesn’t really go anywhere. Writer Chelsea Cain built up the story’s setting without really advancing the plot. There’s a little bit of what could be called plot development in the last few pages. However, I was left guessing as to how that hint of a plot line fit in to the scenes I’d already read. Even though the story left me wanting, I found myself compelled to keep turning the pages. The biggest reason for this, was the stellar work of Spy Island’s art team.
Earlier in this review I mentioned that I had a positive response to the colors from the first page onward. The colors are right and psychedelic. They made me think simultaneously of tropical islands and the opening scenes in the Austin Powers movies. Let me tell you, the art just got better from there. Nora Freud is a knock out, but she’s drawn realistically. Her features and physical attributes are not exaggerated like in many mainstream comic books. The art team also delivers several cool touches that build upon the artwork’s strong foundation. During an underwater scene, real pictures of actual fish are used. The issue is also interspersed with fake advertisements for programs and activities hosted on the islands within the Triangle. These ads help fill out and build up the world in which the story is set.
Spy Island #1 featured a large cast of unique characters, but little plot development. The story could literally go anywhere from this point forward. There are a lot of admittedly exciting possibilities of where the story could go from here, but this first issue was light on storytelling. In the Bermuda Triangle anything can happen; especially with an island filled with monsters, super villains, and secret agents. Luckily, no matter which direction Cain takes the readers in, the art will stay phenomenal. There are parts of the narrative that are very entertaining, but it’s the artwork that is most likely to draw readers to this comic when it is released on April 1st.