So let me be clear…I respect what Darryl has done.
Doesn’t mean I like his story.
Sadly, Pineville #1 did little to reel me in. The story introduced two plotlines (so far unconnected) and neither were especially grabbing.
“But AJ, that was just the first issue, don’t be so quick to judge!”
Actually, I am allowed to be quick to judge. Comics are a powerful storytelling medium that should suck people in on first sight. I feel more people would read comics if they saw past the “it’s childish” excuse and read the first few pages of a good book.
Speaking of first few pages…Dennis O’Neil argued that when it comes to writing comics, you need to open the story with a hook. Something on the first two pages that immediately intrigues the reader. Without it, you’ll lose the readers perusing the comics rack. This isn’t one man’s opinion, it’s industry common knowledge.
Pineville did not hook me from the get-go. In fact the story opened with a few prison shots and an inmate going through processing. The “hook” eventually comes on page 3, when our protagonist Cooper Fourney makes the bold claim that he’s going to kill every other prisoner. Holy crap, now that’s a hook! The problem is after that bold statement, Darryl completely ignores that intriguing juicy bit. Instead he opts to cram in as many prison story clichés into one issue. The warden is a hardass, these are the prison gangs, here’s a friend of mine that I did time with. The “kill everyone” line was so good, I just wish Darryl stuck with it just a little longer to generate interest. Instead, it just snapped back into an episode of Prison Break.
The real hook comes on the very last page. It turns out Cassie is also a cop! Cop by day and hooker by night certainly makes a great “what if” story.
So Darryl has the right idea, he just didn’t execute to perfection. He’s created two intriguing concepts: a hooker-cop and a (maybe) serial killer prisoner. It’s just unfortunate that the hook had to come from page 3 panel 5 (if you haven’t caught on, I’m pointing out how little the whole “kill everyone” thing was mentioned), and the last page.
In the coming issues I’d like to see…less prison story clichés and nude scenes. I’m not being a prude, I’m saying Darryl wrote 3 pages of a sex scene and then a random (totally unnecessary) shower scene. Instead of devoting a whole page to her morning routine, maybe use those pages to contribute to the story or hint that she’s a cop.
I would also like to see more into the psychosis of Cooper. Is he crazy or a man with a plan?
The fact that I’m asking these question means that I’m at least intrigued. He’s introduced some interesting premises worth reading. Although if I paid for the first issue I would be salty since a whole lot of nothing happened. I certainly hope in the coming issues Mansel gets to the point faster instead of filling up pages with boobs and prison gangs. Generate tension and suspense, or else the reader is lost.
The art is super squeaky clean. The characters and setting is pretty sound. Very minimalist background. My one criticism is that Jordi Perez took almost no risk with inking. Hardly any crosshatching or shading. Pineville strikes me as sequential line art with various line weights. Because the line art is so black and white, it isn’t very dynamic. No depth has been created, hardly any texture. The prison looks pristine, not at all gritty. Because of the minimalist line art of Perez, it doesn’t make for a very interesting visual. I would have liked to seen color or at least an intricate grayscale (which I feel is necessary if you don’t color).
In conclusion…Darryl Mansel’s Pineville presents some interesting premises and hooks but fumbles on delivery. The strengths of the story were overshadowed by prison clichés and sex scenes. The art is technically flawless but is pretty boring; Perez took no risks. The minimalist art paired with choice story telling doesn’t bode well for the book’s future. The story’s only hope of keeping readers hooked is to capitalize its strengths (killer prisoner, hooker cop) in Issue #2.
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Pineville. (c) 2017 written by Darryl Mansel and art by Jordi Perez. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction permitted. Any use of material contained within must be with the approval of copyright holder and/or publisher. For more information on Pineville visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pineville-comics#/ .