, REVIEW: Whitaker Knox #1, The Indie Comix Dispatch

Randall Rozzell – Creator, writer, letters, and book design
Silvio DB – Pencils, inks, and colors

From the creator:

Imagine having the power to speak to the dead. Seeing their last moments of life, and the chaos beyond. Now, what would you do, if you found your own dead body in an apartment that might be alive?

Knox is a detective in the not-so-distant future, in a world where magic is real. Knox is the last necromancer on the police force, and his partner James Summers just wants Knox to give up the “Harry Potter” bullshit and do the damned job. Knox is a lost soul, with a broken past, and solving crimes seems to help put his life back on track. Their latest case involves 6 mutilated victims, in a hollowed-out apartment, and one of them is Whitaker Knox.

This is a book about putting your life back together, but in order to get there, Knox will literally have to walk through hell and come out clean on the other side. That’s no easy task, and issue one is just the beginning of what stands before Knox.

When I start reading a book to review, I actually try to know as little about it as possible. I dive-in without reading the description you read above. I approach each book with little expectation and foreknowledge to give it the most unbiased read possible. I’ll admit, with books like Whitaker Knox, that was a mistake. From page 1 of Whitaker Knox we are thrown into a world similar to our own, yet vastly different. You must start this book with the knowledge that it is known that magic is real in this world and everyone knows it. It is also helpful knowledge that Know is the last necromancer. Both of these bits of information are very helpful while reading and will make for a less confusing read. 

It’s always a fine line to walk in indie comics, do you have an info-dump in issue one? Or not? After all, when we read DC or Marvel we read with a foreknowledge of the world those heroes sit in, if not extensive knowledge of the heroes themselves! Yet, in indie, we have to find the balance of how to introduce new characters and important details without boring or confusing the reader. It’s a difficult path to walk. This is not solely an issue for Whitaker Knox, it is present in almost every indie title I read. I think Whitaker Knox could have used an issue 0, and ash can, or an intro paragraph to set the reader on the right course because once you’re on the right courts, Whitaker Knox is a fantastic tale!

The story that Rozzell presents is fun. I love a good comparison to help you get a feel for what you’re diving into, and to me, Whitaker Knox is Hellboy meets John Constantine meets Lovecraft P.I. It’s a gritty tale with darkness hanging over it, told in a way that really draws you in. I was disappointed when I came to the end and wanted a few more pages! 

, REVIEW: Whitaker Knox #1, The Indie Comix Dispatch

Story – .75-stars

Again, Whitaker Knox is a great story once a few fuzzy details are formed up. If you read it after reading this review, you’ll be on a much more firm foundation than I was. Once you have the set-up, the rest of the tale unravels nicely and Rozzell is well skilled at delivering chills and a mystery that will keep this series spinning for a while!

Art – 1-star

The art is gritty and perfect for this book! DB delivers on Rozzell’s narrative with art that is dark and abrasive. It complements the story perfectly and especially shines (or darkens?) when DB illustrates the dead and Knox’s visions.

Dialogue – 1-star

Rozzell’s dialogue gives us the best glimpse into the world that Knox and the others inhabit. Knox’s exchange with Summers illustrates the place that Knox, as a necromancer, inhabits in society. The dead’s whispering to Knox is especially creepy and on-point for the series.

Mechanics – .75-stars

I think with a few more issues and more narrative explored, mechanics will easily score a full star, as is often the case in first issues, there are not quite enough pages to fully explore all the elements that will fully get the story rolling.

Editing – 1-star

Well edited, no obvious errors.

You can learn more at http://whitakerknox.com/

Support Issue 2 on Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rrozzell/whitaker-knox-book-2