Chin Music is one of Image’s brand new #1 issues this week that had me incredibly excited. If the synopsis involving prohibition-era gangsters and demons wasn’t enough to hook you, then the extensively stylized cover would definitely do the trick. Unfortunately, however, Chin Music #1 wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I feel like I should add the word “yet” to the end of that sentence though. There are some great things in this book that I really enjoyed and worked quite well, but confusing narration and a few similar looking characters derailed it for me.
The first five pages of Chin Music #1 are utterly exceptional. There’s is no dialogue, only sound effects can be found in this series of wonderfully artistic and noir-style panels. The art here is spot-on. Panels are encompassed by ritualistic styled lines and shapes that seem to match up with the cult-like symbols being carved into the character’s desk. Tony Harris’ lighting sets the perfect mood for this scene, and the luminescence from the candle is beautiful. The storytelling in these five pages is excellent and the actions are clearly defined. If only the rest of the book carried the same level of efficiency.
From here on out the book unfortunately seemed to spiral into a confusing blur. I went back and reread it a couple times and after a while I was able to make sense of what was going on, but the book suffers from non-distinctive character designs and an art-style that eventually loses its impact. I had a difficult time determining which characters were which. The color scheme tends to blur together, which only hinders the reader from differentiating between the multiple characters that look almost identical. Since this issue contains a chase scene through a busy Egyptian market, being able to understand who is who is quite vital.
Steve Niles’ writing is decent, but nothing to write home about. I didn’t get that prohibition-era sensation from the dialogue. It didn’t feel quite unique, but I’m hoping for that to pick up as the story continues and there actually is more dialogue to work with. They really have an interesting premise here to work with, and if they can get on track then they could truly have something special. I feel like I’m being a little too harsh here.
I’m hoping that Chin Music #1 was merely a teaser that was meant to confuse and intrigue. Niles and Harris might have done too good a job at the confusing part, however. I’ll definitely give issue #2 and possibly issue #3 a try because I hate just giving up on a book after one attempt. Sometimes books take a little time to get off the ground. Not every title can hit the ground running.
If you’re feeling up to trying something new then I’d say go ahead and pick up Chin Music #1 or at least read it while standing in the comic store. There’s a chance that this could turn into something great, and it might be worth at least trying to get into it. If, however, you’re just not feeling it, then no worries. There are plenty other great books out this week!
Most people call me JJ. I’m 23 and currently working as a freelance web-designer as I finish up my schooling. I’m a huge comic book fan and I have an immense appreciation for the medium. I can’t believe that one of my multiple jobs involves reading and writing about comic books. I hope that, not only can my readers learn something from me, but that I can learn something from them as well.