North Bend #3
Publisher- Scout Comics
Writer- Ryan Ellsworth
Artist- Pablo De Bonis
Colors- Paul Little
Letters- Thomas Mauer
“DEA Agent Brendan Kruge receives his first MKUltra target, and the success of the job could mean life or death for Annie. But before the experiment can even begin, a surprise betrayal throws everything off the rails. Meanwhile, Jamie’s investigation takes her one step closer to discovering the clandestine CIA mind control program.”
Have you ever walked into a room and started watching a really good drama from the middle and before it wraps up you know that you’re going to have to go back a start it from the beginning, because as good as the film was you know it would be better if you had all the details?
Welcome to the reading experience of North Bend. I’m not completely sure what I just enjoyed, but I know that I enjoyed it and I need to go back to the start to get the full story. But man! what’s here is really good. This is a multi-layered drama that moves quickly, has a solid cast of characters, and just when you think you’ve got the plot figured out there is a twist.
This is part crime drama and part conspiracy theory. We’ve got DEA, CIA, hookers, pimps, hobos, reporters…all the fixings for human drama. Throw in a black politician that mirrors Bernie Sanders. The MKUltra program. And timely commentary on social and racial unrest and your looking at a book that is not only the product of its time but also bending the genre in a new direction.
The artwork in a comic like this usually falls flat. This is a human drama that doesn’t involve big action sequences, capes, cowls, or tights. Yet, somehow De Bonis makes the artwork stand out. The pacing is perfect, the cast is recognizable and the artist does the one thing that every creator should strive for: He contributes to the final product without diminishing the other elements of the comic. The art doesn’t over power the story, nor does it detract from the comic’s overall enjoyment.
I would recommend this book. I’m curious to see how all these characters fit together and where the narrative is going to take us. But I would advise new readers to take the time and go back to the beginning of the series and start from the top. Otherwise, you’re going to be searching high and low for back issues or waiting for the trade, and nobody wants to get caught in that wait.