A secret affair, a mysterious man, and now… a double murder. No, it’s not a crime comic circa 1940, it’s “Point of Impact” #3 from Image Comics, and now that it’s reached its penultimate issue the puzzle pieces are definitely coming together.
Written by Jay Faerber
Illustrated by Koray Kuranel
It’s the penultimate issue of Jay Faerber’s murder mystery! As Boone attempts to infiltrate the conspiracy surrounding Nicole Rafferty’s murder, Mitch Rafferty manages to track down the man who could have all the answers. Meanwhile, Det. Abby Warren discovers the aftermath of a violent encounter.
A few plotlines have coalesced at this point in the narrative, and the solicit pretty much hits the nail on the head: both Nicole’s widower and her secret lover and trying to figure out the mystery behind her death, and they’ve each adopted a unique approach while being mostly unaware of the others’ activities. Meanwhile, the police go about the investigation from a more objective standpoint, filling in the details and elucidating how this investigation is obliged to go when it’s being conducted the usual way, as opposed to vigilante-style.
The trouble with this formula as it stands is that when Faerber’s characters aren’t downright unlikeable (as is the case with Rafferty at present), they’re difficult to relate to. No single character has gotten enough screen time to really get us on his side; and so, while there are hints that ex-military lug Boone may well be our underdog “good guy”, at present we haven’t got anybody to really root for and the series continues to feel slightly unfocused. Four issues, of course, isn’t a lot of space for character development, and when there’s also a mystery at hand it’s understandable that the deductions would come to the forefront. Still, what makes itself felt here is a vague lack of humanizing detail; small elements that would give an idea of what these characters are like, outside these particular circumstances.
In terms of plot developments, however, an integral element to the mystery comes clear in this issue, and it’s both believable and plausible that it could have led to Nicole’s murder. So plausible, actually, that it may well be a red herring, but the way it introduces one of Nicole’s old high school friends to the story — as well as to the suspect list — is a neat complicating factor.
Kuranel’s stark black and white art keeps to its usual — and gorgeous — high standard here, with the sharp, bold lines and strong camera angles keeping the pages energetic and easy to follow. The use of white gutter space is interesting, too, particularly in the way the gutters sometimes invade and block out the background of a panel, leaving us with just the faces of the characters to examine. It’s a subtle — and very clean — way of guiding the eye through the page, and it breaks up a nighttime scene early in this issue very nicely.
The only real weakness in Kuranel’s art — which has come up in some form in each of the three issues — is the character work. Facial expressions sometimes err on the stiff side and — particularly in this issue — some characters looks an awful lot alike. In this case, one character dies under unclear circumstances while the very similar-looking one goes on his merry way, and a slightly annoying resemblance becomes a confusing element that makes the issue as a whole more difficult to absorb.
Overall, however, “Point of Impact” is keeping admirably stylistically consistent in terms of both storytelling and art, and as a whole seems indicative of a strong and unified vision on the creators’ part. Meanwhile — lack of character development notwithstanding — the solid new plot developments that occur in this issue make it feel like the best instalment yet. Get this one in single issues if you can — the cliffhangers (and there definitely is one here) suit the format wonderfully.
Final Verdict: 8.1 — Buy (or rather, keep buying)