Written and Illustrated by: Steve Pugh
Detective Exorcist Alice Hotwire is back! After the events of Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead, the city’s only supernatural investigator is taking some much needed R&R. But when a Blue Light from her colored past appears in front of her door, it sparks a series of events that lead Hotwire and Mobey across the city attempting to stop the results of a secret government project from turning the city into another living nightmare. With backup from Coroner Love and Metro Police, can Hotwire and Mobey save the day one more time? Join groundbreaking creator/writer/illustrator Steve Pugh for a glimpse into Alice Hotwire’s past and peer through a gateway into her future.
Hotwire is back! One part Lara Croft, one part Peter Venkman, Alice exterminates the not-so-dearly departed so they don’t terrorize those who are already living. After heading to the drunk tank overnight from the previous issue, we learned a lot more of her past. We met her no good boyfriend who still haunts her on occasion.
Want to know more? Well, check the review behind the cut! I know you do.
Hotwire is an interesting creature. It’s a rare form of entertainment that is all one person’s hard work on the page. There are very few collaborators aside from the editor and publisher, so it’s all Steve’s baby. But that’s a twice bladed sword, as easily as he can be praised for creating great work, he can be reviled for the same work.
Thankfully, Pugh’s work lives to fight another day. This book is simply put, a lot of fun. There are elements from other stories you can compare it to, but it’s a really unique, almost anime-ish story about afterlife and what happens if (pardon the Death Cab reference) Heaven and Hell light up the No’s on their Vacancy Signs. The dead walk the Earth, plain and simple. Now, anyone else might make this a bland sort of ghost story with Proton Packs other elements used ages ago. Instead the story reads like a Cyberpunk Ghost Story and it’s the better for it.
I think the winning part of this story is the title character, and it was a brilliant move to make her so angst-filled and flawed. The additions to her character this arc have really made for some interesting revelations about Alice that made the way she is. They could have gone the route of simply having a bad boyfriend, but there is a new twist to really make it a story true to Alice’s universe.
And as I said in my previous review, Steve Pugh’s art is absolutely stunning. Everyone looks authentically British, especially Alice herself, save for her pasty skin. Even her surly attitude is pure British! (I’m only kidding, I love you guys.) His pencils are some of the best photorealistic pages out there; it really feels like you’re in the middle of the action, which also says a lot of his visual storytelling.
It does get a tad brutal though. The main antagonist appears to have been so grotesque that you never seen her actual face (not that you could, but I won’t get into spoilers). I’m not sure if Pugh was avoiding showing her face because he wants to wait until the final issue (next issue) or if he was unable to draw something so grotesque, or if the editors of Radical wouldn’t LET him draw something so jarring. Needless to say I really want to see it, but I’ll reserve judgment on this aspect until issue three.
If you want a different sort of story I suggest picking this up. It may be the second issue of the second volume, but it gives a recap so you can jump on and understand exactly what has happened. If you wish, you can even go back and find out exactly what happened! Check this out.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy