Written by: Michael Moreci
Art by: Colin Lorimer
I’m going to do away with review decorum and structure for a moment and just say go and buy The Burning Fields #1 now. I mean right now. Drop what you’re doing and tab over, get on a digital retailer’s site and download it now. Or better yet, get off the internet and race over to your local comic book store right this minute and secure your copy of this extraordinary debut. This hard-boiled and tense thriller transcends genres and excels at each of them.
Dana Atkinson has burned some bridges as an Army investigator. There’s a lot of hurt feelings between her, the military and private contractors involved in her time in Iraq. She’s summoned back after she was dishonorably discharged to investigate some bizarre murders on an oil field in Iraq. The opening scene sets the tone immediately. If you were looking for a gruesome horror story to deliver from page one you have it in Fields. Although, it’s more than that.
Detective Fasad is an earnest and capable investigator in his own right trying to navigate the sometimes uneasy relationship between the American military and the citizens of his homeland. He’s also disturbed by the recent murders and the complications that come with the politics involved in just doing his job. Atkinson and Fasad will have to work together to get to the bottom of some possibly supernatural events amid the chaos that surrounds them both politically, culturally and personally.
Lorimer does a great job of illustrating this story in an appropriate dark manner. It’s a modern day noir tale, told in dark rooms where shadows drape everything from furniture to faces. Even the over-saturation of color can’t enlighten the cloud of tension that hovers on every page. Lorimer’s style is reminiscent of Michael Lark’s work on Lazarus. He’s also got a great eye for staging scenes with varying close-ups and wide shots that are especially effective when the story lands in Iraq. This is a title where the subject matter warrants an artist that can convey mystery, darkness, menace and anxiety. Lorimer is that artist.
Atkinson is a great character that is head strong and fearless. Just the right disposition for someone smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation in a foreign country surrounded by mostly men. Some who hate her guts. She’s Carrie Mathison from Showtime’s Homeland except tougher and in a hyper-realistic setting.
The Burning Fields could have been a great political thriller or a gory horror story or a dark police procedural. Instead it chose to be all of them and thank goodness it did. It’s written with urgency and style that is gritty and hard-boiled that propels the storytelling. Rarely is the dialogue as compelling as the action in a comic but this was one nails it. The only bad thing to say about the series is that it ends in eight issues. So get off your ass and buy it today!