Advance Review: Numbercruncher #1
Sci-fi noir stories aren’t as special as they use to be. The comic industry is filled with them each year. But Numbercruncher, Si Spurrier’s new miniseries, stands out, and plays with the genre in new ways.
Spurrier fills #1 with plenty of exposition. To the point that it almost breaks the issue. Usually, I prefer that the writer sprinkle exposition throughout the issue. Exposition dumps are boring and treat the reader like an idiot. But Spurrier’s take on sci-fi noir twist is very interesting. The karmic calculator is a great twist, and the set up for the rest of the series will bring readers back. Agent #494 doesn’t have a lot of characterization, but the reader can sympathize with his story line. The Mathematician, who seems to be somewhat of a villain, is sympathetic. #494 and the Mathematician are an interesting duo, as it’s hard to tell who is the villain and who is the hero. Both of them could end up being neither. Well, the real villain is the Divine Calculator, but that’s
The ending is quite sad, even though you can see it coming. Spurrier pulls at the reader’s heart strings though, and makes the cliched dialogue work rather well. That ends up being the general feeling of Numbercruncher #1. Spurrier uses a lot of old tropes for the noir genre, but they still feel fresh in this new setting. #494 origin is as generic as it comes, to the point that it’s almost comical. After the first page you can see where his path is going. But the simple origin ends up making #494 a more relatable character. You can easily jump into his shoes and wrap your head around his decision making process.
P.J. Holden’s penciling works with colors and the simpler black and white. Since the story takes place in heaven for the most part, the majority of the issue is in black and white. The stark contrast looks great later in the book, as the Mathematician makes his way back to his love. A problem with black and white is the lack of separation between items. It’s hard to tell where something ends and another thing begins. Holden avoids this problem, and every page looks great. Holden fills the pages with a great amount of detail. Jordie Bellaire has a quick job for colors this issue, and they are just ok. The colors are down to Earth, to the point that they look bad. The story is a little darker than it needs to be.
Numbercruncher #1 is filled with old tropes, but is still a great read. Noir fans should give the title a read.
Numbercruncher #1 gets 4/5.