For those of you who’ve read my reviews for Snapshot or heard my opinions on The Losers, Green Arrow: Year One, and Action Comics #19 you know that I’m a huge fan of writer Andy Diggle. Definitely in my Top Ten of comic book writers, if I were to compile such a list. So, it should be no surprise to you that I’d review the first issue of Uncanny, his ongoing comic with Dynamite. Why do I gravitate towards Diggle’s writing so much? One word: character. Diggle understands people very well and he writes them accordingly. His heroes, and some of his villains for that matter, are never cut and dry, black and white cardboard cutouts. Though he’s writing within a hyper-reality, there’s always a sense that the characters have been significantly fleshed out before the first word is written. It’s what makes his books so entertaining because, no matter how fantastical or out there the setting or the story becomes, the characters never stray from who they are, so they react appropriately to any given scenario.
Such is the case with Uncanny #1. As an introductory issue, Diggle smartly eases the reader into the books premise about a con man named Weaver with the ability to psychically “read” people, tapping into a person in order to know everything about them and everything that they know, though the knowledge is short-lived. The opening pages feel more like a James Bond movie with Weaver confident that his ability to “read” Mr. Lee, the casino owner, at a high stakes poker game has given him the upper hand. The way Diggle sets up the scenario, we’re to assume that Weaver’s just capable of reading Lee like profilers can read people, observing them for tells that reveal their true nature or intentions. It’s a clever turn, especially when we get to see what Weaver’s ability to “read” actually entails. From there, it’s a race for Weaver to get out of Dodge, or in this case, Singapore, without paying the substantial amount of money he now owes a crime boss. Luckily, help comes in the form of a woman named Maggie who has a job offer for Weaver and his particular set of skills.
Though short on plot at the moment, it’s essential that the reader understands who Weaver is and what he can do before we move on to the story proper. While we’re not entirely certain of the moral compass Weaver uses, we at least know that he’s an opportunist and a con man used to getting what he wants when he needs it, though money appears to be a constant problem. Good to know even people with unnatural abilities still have problems from time to time. Those problems and limitations are actually part and parcel of Weaver’s power. Yes, he can read people, but he can only hold on to his newly acquired knowledge for a short amount of time. And apparently the come down is a bit harsh. It keeps Weaver from being too powerful and prevents him from walking into every given situation with more information than his adversaries. Again, this is Diggle giving us a very grounded character despite his superhuman ability. It just wouldn’t be any fun if things were easy, would it?
The art by Aaron Campbell, with colors by Bill Crabtree, is absolutely stunning. There’s almost a rotoscopic quality to the pages which is made more prominent when the characters have a greater focus within the panels. It’s as if Campbell is trying to keep the art as grounded as the writing, making Weaver and the world around him as close to realistic as possible. There were a few times when I chuckled based on Weaver’s expression within a panel. He looks real enough that you’d actually imagine his reactions coming from a person in real life, so kudos to Campbell for pulling that off! It’s also a great way to highlight how separate the supernatural elements are when Weaver uses his ability, but that’s just my opinion.
Final Thoughts: I have an uncanny need to pick up issue #2!