Friday, March 7, 2014

Archer Coe, The Mind's Arrow, by Jamie S. Rich & Dan Christensen

 Archer Coe, known as "The Mind's Arrow", is a stage hypnotist who is playing to small audiences in a hole-in-the-wall dive, when he's approached by a millionaire who has an odd proposition: He wants to hire Coe to hypnotize his frigid wife, in order to get to the root of her aversion to sex.

 This is one of those stories that you really can't say too much about. Reading that brief synopsis would seem to indicate that this would be a noir story, or perhaps some kind of depression-era pulp pastiche. Delving further in, the reader might detect hints of a femme fatale story, or a thriller (There's a grisly serial killer on the loose within these pages, too...), but none of those genres are precise fits, either. ARCHER COE, THE MIND'S ARROW is it's own beast, to be sure.

 The story, by Jamie S. Rich and Dan Christensen, exists in some kind of timeless netherworld, which I first took to be the 1930's, but clearly isn't. The story does invoke memories of classic film noir, as well as other, more recent films and genres of storytelling. (I got a good, strong ANGEL HEART vibe, myself, which is never a bad thing.)

 Coe, in true noir fashion, goes off with the millionaire and meets his wife, and soon falls down a rabbit hole of murder, frame-ups, and betrayal, with nary a shred of hope in sight. Rich's story is occasionally too busy for it's own good, but he does manage to pull all of his stings together in the end, and Christensen's spare, clean art style gave me a Mike Mignola/Hernandez Bros. vibe, which suited the story well.

 It's always a treat to find an honest-to-goodness original graphic novel (One that hasn't already been serialized in a floppy format), and Oni Press, Jaime S. Rich, and Dan Christensen have delivered a well-told, thought-provoking tale, one deserving of your attention and money.

 Oni Press provided a review copy.