Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bad Medicine #1

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir and Antony Johnston
Art by Christopher Mitten

Of all the publishers that participate in Free Comic Book Day, I think it's Oni Press that has best figured out how to make the day a viable one.  Two years ago, they used FCBD to debut their series The Sixth Gun, guaranteeing that unique and wonderful series a much wider audience than it would have gotten otherwise.  Last year, they did the same thing for Spontaneous, a terrific mini-series about spontaneous human combustion.  I probably would have picked up both of these comics anyway, but I appreciated being given the opportunity to sample the series for free in a meaningful way (instead of just being given a couple of story pages and some character sketches).

This year, they've done the same thing, with the first issue of Bad Medicine, a new mini-series by the team of Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, and Christopher Mitten.  DeFilippis and Weir have written a few graphic novels together, and are probably still best known for their very good revitalization of the New Mutants a ways back.  Christopher Mitten has worked with them before on Past Lies and The Tomb, as well as on the long-running Oni series Wasteland with Antony Johnston.

Bad Medicine is a medical thriller.  A corpse is discovered in a scientific laboratory, and it appears to have been decapitated.  Soon though, it is discovered that the victim's head is intact and attached to the body, it's just invisible. As you can imagine, this leads to all sorts of problems for the detective on the case, Joely Huffman.  She has few leads, except for the name of a doctor who left the profession five years ago, after causing the death of one of his patients.  He has spent these five years on a 'walkabout', researching alternative and bizarre approaches to healing.  He has something to do with all of this, and is eager to help.  As well, there is an pair of CDC scientists involved, who have a bit of a love/hate relationship going on.

There is plenty to like here, as DeFilippis and Weir lay down the groundwork for their series.  Mitten's art is always nice, and is always much easier to follow in colour.  Wisely, Oni have solicited the next issue of this series for next month (previously, they waited until after FCBD to continue their series, leaving a large gap between issues that may not have capitalized on their wider audiences).

This issue also has a Wasteland short by Antony Johnston and Mitten.  It appears to be set either just after the current storyline, or before Micheal and Abi ran in to the Dog Tribe a ways back, as it has the two of them traveling together and finding an injured man in a ravine.  It's a bleak story, but it helps to demonstrate the aesthetic of this wonderful series.

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