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Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries #1 (ADVANCE)

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Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries #1 (ADVANCE)

Credits

  • Words: Christopher Mills
  • Art: Joe Staton
  • Inks: Horacio Ottolini & Mark Stegbauer
  • Colors: Melissa Kearcher & Matt Webb
  • Story Title: Blonde Justice
  • Publisher: Ape Entertainment
  • Price: $3.95

In the crooked city of Port Nocturne, a mysterious woman dispenses justice with fists and blazing automatics!

Several years ago writer Christopher Mills debuted his blonde, angel of justice in a series of web comics. Now the character comes to print in a four issue mini-series. Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries is the perfect place for new readers to meet this mystery heroine and old fans to perhaps learn a few new revelations…

Someone is on the trail of the biggest mystery in Port Nocturne – the identity of the blonde, trench coated woman who fights to clean up the streets. Who is this woman who hits the criminals the police can’t touch? Is she the daughter of a slain mob boss seeking to atone for her father’s crimes? Could she be the torch singer who knows firsthand the ineptness of the police? Or is she the intrepid girl reporter out to prove herself? Three short stories illustrate the cases for each woman but which one is the woman in blue?

Mills obviously has a love of comic books, noir movies and books, and the supernatural as well and all of those loves are poured into his work here. Each of the three short tales (all totaling up to 28 pages worth of story) here are tightly woven and each illustrates a different aspect of the heroine – her dark sense of justice, her detective abilities, and her calm handling of the weird and strange. There is more than one tip of the hat to Will Eisner’s work on The Spirit but there is also a wittiness and sneaky satire that Raymond Chandler would have appreciated and slam bang action that Dashiell Hammett would have loved. Mills makes no bones about his sources of inspiration but the way his stories are told, his setting, and his tough, no nonsense heroine all make it seem fresh and new and most of all thrilling.

As with the web comic strips the penciler here is Joe Staton, a veteran of the industry. While many may remember him for his run with the character Green Lantern for DC, his work here deserves just as much praise. His action sequences literally explode off the page. If this were in 3-D it would need a warning label. His panel layouts are also wonderfully designed to increase the action and, at the same time, recall those great old noir movies of the 1940’s and 1950’s. His depiction of the nameless heroine can be smooth and sultry one minute and diamond hard the next; the perfect complement to the stories.

If you liked The Shadow, or Will Eisner’s The Spirit or if you just plain old like action and adventure with a hint of romance, a slight edge of satire and the occasional mad scientist thrown in then this title deserves a look from you. There are thrills and chills and pure enjoyment to be had here. Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries is slated to begin in June but if you want a little taste while you are waiting you can read the first Femme Noir web comics online for free at http://www.femme-noir.com/ Go to a city that never sleeps; a place where anything goes and crime holds sway. In this wide-open town there is one figure that fights for justice. For criminals in Port Nocturne, bullets are often the crimson kiss of Femme Noir.

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