The concept of Newburn alone is brilliant. We’ll get to the execution of it in a bit, but that has to be acknowledged first. Having a private investigator working for all local organized crime syndicates? Love the idea, and there are definitely a few different ways this sort of character could be written. Chip Zdarsky decided to give us a hard-lined ex-cop, whose mind can’t be read by anyone — including the reader since Easton Newburn isn’t narrating this story.
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Jacob Phillips
The only thing remotely close to narration in this story are the journal entries from another character who we learn a little about in the first issue and get to know a little more in the issues to come. The bit of reflection in the journal entries are a nice touch and definitely enhance the story, but the character writing them is almost as clueless about Newburn as readers. That’s a good thing.
This character Zdarsky and Jacob Phillips have created is so calculated. I truly question if there’s a proper way to narrate his thought process. It’s probably best everyone is left guessing until the end of each issue. And that’s exactly what happens with Newburn, at least through the first five issues.
In addition to the character, the actual stories and Phillips’ to-the-point style, which mirrors the character Newburn perfectly, the fact each issue is it’s own individual story is very appealing. Yes, readers cross paths with familiar faces from issue to issue. It also feels like a larger story is in the works from issue to issue. But, Newburn is more like Law & Order in that sense (on top of the crime investigation story). There may be dots connecting to a larger story, and knowing what’s happened previously in Neburn’s world may be beneficial. But each problem is its own in the end.
Newburn #1 is a great start to a series that only gets better.
Looking for more comic book content? Go check out the latest episode of Geeks WorldWide Radio‘s TLDR podcast, where Joseph Gilmore and Nick Friar discuss comics weekly and talk to creators from the industry — available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify! For more on Newburn, along with some of Zdarsky’s other projects, check out his interview with TLDR.