Creator: Ross Richie
Writer: Carey Malloy
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: Stephen Downer
Letterer: Johnny Lowe
Released April 7, 2010
Spy stories can work great in comics when they’re done well. The realism of Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country, the psychedelia of Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury stories, and the plain insanity of Matt Fraction’s Casanova each offer something unique to the spy genre. Now, we’ve got a new series from BOOM! Studios that is a more or less realistic look at a unique branch of spying, with their new series Codebreakers.
The story follows the members of the FBI Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, the elite codebreakers for the Bureau. We see a day at the office through the eyes of Stanley Grouse. The first part of the issue is a mundane look at what this group does, but things take a turn when one of the members of the team is filmed committing suicide. That sets the mystery in motion and sets us up for the next issue.
One thing that really disappointed me was that for a series called Codebreakers, there weren’t a lot of codes being broken. Now granted, this is a first issue, and a lot of time is spent establishing the characters, which is a good thing, but I would have liked to see a bit more with the codes, and I hope this is something that’s address in the next issue.
Writer Carey Malloy makes a smart move and has kept the cast small and easy to keep track of. Everyone gets a personality established and in a few short pages I knew what was up with all the main characters. The other point I would say is that there is a lot of talking in this issue, and basically no action and I’d maybe like to see a little more action, but again, the writing is good enough to keep me interested. Besides, there was plenty of talking in Queen and Country, and I really enjoyed that book.
The art ended up being better than I thought it would be. I never know what to expect from new artists, and while Scott Godlewski style may not set the world on fire, everything is on the page that is needed to tell the story, and that’s the important thing. This is not a story that requires a lot of fancy page layouts, there’s no great action scene in this issue, just a lot of talking and setting up the characters, so Godlewski limits himself to fairly standard pages with lots of wide panels. Again, it tells the story well, but I wouldn’t exactly call it dynamic or exciting work. Its well done without really standing out, but there are worse things in the world.
I’m giving this one a 3 out of 5. I wasn’t exactly blown away by it, but I think it’s worth checking out if you like a smart mystery. It’s a good set up issue, but it does move a bit slowly. If the next issue amps up the excitement, I could see this becoming a good series to read once each arc is completed. If you’re a fan of the show Numbers, I think this would be something you’d be interested in.