Writer - David Lapham
Artist - Raphael Ortiz
Publisher - Avatar
This is a really solid comic book. I'm not sure what more you can ask for from the first issue of a brand new series. It strikes all the right chords - smart dialogue, interesting characters, excellent pacing/scene transitions, skilled and expressive artwork, and an intriguing plot.
David Lapham crams a ton of information into this book without the reader feeling bogged down or confused. He references interesting and horrific murder cases and elements like the Black Dahlia and a Chelsea Grin as well as Fantomas, a wildly popular character found in French crime fiction during the early part of the 20th century. His protagonist, just call him Dan, is a flawed hero who appreciates the simple things in life and wants to just lie in the park and listen to his favorite CD and day dream, but ends up in strange and dangerous situations. He is funny, unpredictable, and instantly likeable. He also appears to be totally invincible.
The main shape of the story is a who-done-it. It's a play on the old "lonely private eye out to save the damsels in distress while administering his own brand of justice" motif. And Lapham makes it work very well by putting his own fun and interesting spin on it.
The artwork of Raphael Ortiz suits this type of book perfectly. There's no denying the similarities between his style and that of Jacen Burrows, but that certainly isn't a bad thing. His line work and page compositions are simple, straight forward and effective. The intelligent perspective choices helps the flow between panels to be fluid and natural. He handles the action sequences with grace and his facial expressions always look natural and appropriate and bring a lot of life to the scenes.
The high level of storytelling craft is very impressive from this creative team and I look forward to finding out what's in store for Dan in the months to come.