City of Dust #2


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City of Dust #2


  • Words: Steve Niles
  • Art: Zid
  • Inks: Garrie Gastonny & Brandon Chng
  • Colors: Buddy Jiang, Leos NG "Okiat" & Sixth Creation
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 12, 2008

Philip Khrome knows there is something off about his latest case, unfortunately for him the Bureau thinks it is him.

Steve Niles is known for writing creepy books the likes of 30 Days of Night. His seminal work is probably Freaks of the Heartland, which meets his normal milieu but is also free of the choppiness that sometimes creeps into his work.

City of Dust seemed to be a bit of departure after the first issue examined a cop trying to live down his demons and then called to face them directly as he is placed at a grisly and puzzling murder scene. This issue finds him being questioned by the GBI, a future version of the FBI. He is questioned and scanned. He is suspicious of the questioning and this is only confirmed when his friend reveals she was questioned about him. Seems his past might make him a suspect.

The biggest bit of departure comes in the setting. This is a future that is some weird blend of Fahrenheit 451 and Blade Runner with just a hint of Minority Report thrown in for good measure. There is a bit of the lack of flow that is always present in one of Niles’s scripts, but the story is solid. After Khrome leaves his interrogation, it becomes clear that this book fits firmly into the writer’s normal genre of horror. With his stature as one of the premiere writers of that field in comics, it is at once a relief to see him pursue his are of comfort and a bit of a let down as well, it was nice to see him branching out.

The characterization is what really stands out in this title. Khrome is a fully developed lead as opposed to a work in progress like some of the leads Niles has written in the past. Of course, this is necessary to explain why the GBI has him as a person of interest, but it also enriches the story. It gives a sense of history to our hero and allows for him to feel like a person as opposed to just a tool for the story.

Radical’s books have been fairly impressive for a new publisher. They have had neat ideas and been fairly well written. The one place that all have excelled is in the art. It is a fact that means kudos are meant for their art director Jeremy Berger.

This book is no exception. The art team brings a dynamic look to the page. The creatures are frightening and the line work consistent and nicely rendered. It is also not hard to follow the story. If any complaint could be made, and this holds for the company’s entire output to date, is that the colors are too dark. It was a minor annoyance in titles like Hercules and Caliber. However, with Freedom Formula and this title, the colors muddy the art work. Things seem to blend together. It is obvious from the story and the setting here that it is a stylistic choice. It gives the book a From Hell type feel, like it is happening in dark and scary alley ways. The effect may be over done and to the detriment of the readers, especially those whose eyes may have to strain a bit. Artists should remember that the average age of comics readers is skewing up and with adult oriented titles like this one, they should show a little sympathy.

Niles has been in a bit of a revival of late, with the strong and clear debut of Savage a couple weeks ago and the carefully created characters here, he may be living up to his stature, finally.

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