Writer: Tim Seeley
Penciller: Marley Zarcone
Inker: Jesse Hamm
Colourist: Ryan Hill
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover artist: W. Scott Forbes
Release Date: March 25th 2014
Effigy is truly the sum of its many varied parts, which makes it both a joy to read and a challenge (for me, anyway), to review.
The main meat of this issue sees Officer Chondra Jackson, former child star of the cult sci-fi show “Star Cops” attend a convention (“Copcon”) undercover, trying to glean more information about the murder that was uncovered in the first issue. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t actually learn anything, though she does re-unit with her old flame and co-star. Which is fun, as these little flashes into her past are also thoughtful little meditations on the nature of fame.
Edie Chacon, Chondra’s best friend, joins her on this undercover “mission”. Three issues in, she is still a tad annoying and a tad creepy, but I love that neither of those things are related at all to the fact that she’s also trans. It’s there, but never mocked or typecast. In fact, there’s an interesting moment where two girls at the convention seem to be staring at her and whispering (“…not sure… could be either or…”), and it’s clear that Edie’s a bit self-conscious and nervous as she asks after them. This is an encounter that could very well end with them openly mocking or belittling her (or worse); a fear that trans people around the world deal with everyday.
The girls compliment her cosplay instead, upon which Edie is back to her obnoxious self. Effigy is full of subtle character moments like these, along with the not so subtle moments, and Marley Zarcone’s art is just as important as Tim Seeley’s writing in why they work so well.
In the meantime, Detective Moore, who is leading the investigation, heads out to speak to a person of interest, and this is where things get even more weird — and by weird, I mean metaphysical and possibly supernatural. I’m not sure which one it is, yet, but it was trippy and intriguing, and I’m curious to see how the team try to bring it all together.
And that is admittedly one of the possible faults of Effigy, as it stands right now — it’s a very ambitious series, but maybe there are just too many different hings happening. It’s an enjoyable read, don’t get me wrong, but as much as I enjoy the character moments, the pace and momentum of the overall story have taken a back seat.
No doubt this is intentional, and after all, the joy of serialised comics is in allowing a story to slowly shape up over a long period of time. And I do hope Effigy gets a chance to tell its whole story. Especially because Zarcone’s pencils, together with Jesse Hamm’s inks and Ryan Hill’s colours, make for art that is very appealing and easy on the eye. There are no crazy experimental page layouts here, and that’s totally fine, because this is not that kind of book (though the aforementioned “metaphysical” scenes do come close, and the art team pull it off splendidly). Seeley continues to be a solid character writer, too.
It’s definitely the characters who are propping this book up right now, but there is great potential in the strange mystery plot, and for the moment at least, I’m happy to continue picking this up every month and watching how the story unfolds.
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