American Carnage #1 Review

by Hussein Wasiti on November 21, 2018

Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colourist: Dean White
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
This is the Vertigo launch I was actually looking forward to the most. Bryan Hill made a big splash with DETECTIVE COMICS recently so you'll be seeing his name on a lot of comics in the comic months, but I was mostly looking forward to this to see an unrestrained, more free Hill. He's a talent, and this book was fantastic.
Leandro Fernandez is going to be an unknown to some people. He did THE OLD GUARD with Greg Rucka over at Image sort of recently, and I think he's a great fit for this book. There's a roughness and looseness in his style that greatly contributes to the grittiness and ingrained violence in this story.
Dean White's colouring work seems unlike anything I've ever seen of his, to be honest. Here he's going for an overall brighter colour palette which suits the linework quite well. Pat Brosseau's lettering is also fantastic; the man's a master and having such an expert letterer on your team can only bring good things.
The plot initially follows FBI Agent Sheila Curry, who recently lost her partner in a case involving a white supremacist; in an off-the-books move, she recruits private detective Richard Wright, a half-black and half-white former FBI agent to go undercover in a suspected dirty politician's inner circle. The plot sounds bleak and convoluted, but this thing is paced like a dream and it simply feels very prescient. This seems like an easy story to tackle since the world is such a crazy place and any writer could take advantage of that, but Hill approaches it with a bit of grayness and cautiousness that really drew me in. This has the makings of a long-term story but not in the way that many modern writers approach it; Hill isn't hiding any information on us only to drop it on us in the last second to extend his story a bit longer. This feels like it has a long life ahead of it, and I can't wait to read more.
AMERICAN CARNAGE is a stunning book, one that feels necessary and timely but also straddles that line by presenting a gripping and hopefully long-term story. The art is fantastic on all fronts as well.

Our Score:


A Look Inside