Review: Pigs #1

This tale of global espoionage and good old-fashioned spy thriller will hook you with its final page.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Pigs #1

Taking just a small break from the New 52 (don’t worry, all will be reviewed this week as well) I give you Pigs, a new series from Image Comics. As set up issues go, Pigs is one of the better ones I’ve read in a long time. At no point in the story will you really have any idea what’s going on and I’m fairly certain that was a calculated move by writers Nate Cosby and Ben McCool. Regardless of your confusion, Pigs will draw you into its web of global espionage and good old-fashioned spy thriller writing. If, by the end, you’re not completely sold on buying the next issue, the final page will certainly convince you.

Pigs #1 builds its slow burn by setting us in an interrogation room where two cops are playing hardball with an older woman. It’s your standard tough cops trying to intimidate but getting nowhere with their icy and mysterious suspect. There are mentions of KGB, Bay Of Pigs and other such historical factors but you’re never given a clear idea of what this woman has to do with it and why the cops are so pissed. From there we’re whisked to Cuba, where a kindly old man dies of a heart attack. The old man’s family, who bring new meaning to the word dysfunctional, suddenly get bogged down in the idea of the death being foul play. Again, we don’t know who these people are or why they’re acting so secretive but by this time you’re hooked into the story. In the end we get a mysterious stranger and an attack on American soil. Did I mention the end? It’s a doozy.

What makes Pigs work is it’s pure dedication to being a comic for mature readers. This is the kind of stuff that people who love The Bourne Identity can get down with. The generation of fans raised on spy comics and Tom Clancy novels will be into it as well. Thus far, it isn’t James Bond type spy action – Pigs seems much more cerebral. I’m guessing there will be more action as the series progresses but I’m hoping it won’t lose that intelligent mystery edge. I’d hate something that starts off so well to end up as just some Mission: Impossible rip-off. Ben McCool (I wonder if that’s his real last name) and Nate Cosby work seamlessly together. At no point is there a sudden change in the caliber of writing or the direction of the story. Pigs comes across as a real collaborative effort.

The only place I felt a bit let down was the art. Given how amazing the cover is and the general vibe of the story, I really wanted a darker, more noir feeling to the whole thing. Breno Tamura is clearly a talented artist, but it’s very straightforward. The layout is standard, the work itself has a seventies comic book feel but never jumps out at you. There is a school of thought that art doesn’t always have to pop. Fair enough. That being said, it should meld with the story, and here it just doesn’t. Pigs needed darker, more stylized visuals and that just doesn’t come across.