Review: Chin Music #1
Shaw is a man on the run and lost in time. Fleeing ancient enemies, Shaw finds himself in prohibition-era Chicago surrounded by gangsters and demons alike and caught between law enforcement and the local supernatural underground. CHIN MUSIC is a tale of mysticism and violence like nothing you’ve experienced before.
A new mystical mystery series from Image comics kicks off this week with Chin Music #1. The story was created by Steve Niles and Tony Harris. It is written by Niles with illustrations by Harris. Bill Tortolini joins the duo and provides lettering. So is Chin Music a good new series, or does this tune fall on deaf ears?
The story opens as a mysterious looking gumshoe carves some ruins into a bullet. He has a casting circle carved into his desk, and he goes about doing something to the bullet before inserting it into his gun. As he aims and fires, we are thrown back in time to the same man in Egypt. He is doing some detective work for a man who’s having a problem with a thief. The next person to walk through his tent is an even more mysterious figure who appears to have some mystical powers similar to our detective. It appears, after a brief struggle, our detective is skinned alive. Things get a little weird as our half-skeleton main character crawls around and we go from Egypt to Chicago where he is found by Eliot Ness. Then we see Al Capone giving a speech before we get to the incredibly shocking ending.
I’m not really sure what is going on with the story. If it wasn’t for the solicit info I wouldn’t know the name of the guy we’ve been reading about. Niles goes with a very unconventional story structure. There is very little dialogue and even that is bare bones. Niles is a true master of horror and storytelling, but this issue is less storytelling and more flashes of a mystery we’ll probably learn about later. When you piece together the importance of the bullet, things start to click a little. Harris’ art is fantastic. He goes with an unconventional page layout and oftentimes has very stylistic and elaborate panels separating the panels. There are a lot of purples and reds that make the whole presentation visually stunning.
Bottom Line: Chin Music #1 is a beautiful looking book that features a story that is a complete mystery. It’s not necessarily a bad book, it’s just light on a few details you’d hope to get in a first issue. Niles is a great storyteller, and you can definitely see some of his trademarks in the book. It’s an interesting story that I really want to learn more about 3/5