Last night, I bought and downloaded a copy of The Private Eye, the first issue of a proposed ten-issue monthly sci-fi comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. They're selling the comic from their own site, Panel Syndicate, on a pay-what-you-want basis. (If you're curious, I paid $3.) I'm not generally fond of writing full reviews of the first issues of serial stories—I don't review books based on their first chapters, after all—but I like what I see here.
The Private Eye is a science-fiction story set in a future where the internet vomited up everyone's secrets and then died. I've enjoyed all of Vaughan's ongoing comic series so far, more or less—Y the Last Man is a solid Vertigo title and Saga is maybe my favorite ongoing series right now, but Ex Machina lost my attention about halfway through and I haven't cared to see how it ends—and Private Eye thankfully falls more on the big-ideas side of the spectrum of his work. The protagonist is a private eye, but the title also evokes themes of privacy and the public eye. The standard noir conventions are laid out in this issue, including the down-and-out detective with a substance abuse problem (though his drug of choice is legalized marijuana cigarettes, not booze) and the dame with the difficult case and the opening chase sequence. The problem with serialized storytelling is that you don't get a full picture in a single chapter. You have to trust the storyteller. As far as I'm concerned, Vaughan has earned that trust with his previous works—there are any number of ways this story could go, and every path from here looks pretty interesting.
Marcos Martin is one of the best genre comics artists working today. He's one of the few artists to draw more from Steve Ditko's example than Jack Kirby, and his work feels kinetic in a highly cinematic way. The opening chase scene makes the most of the book's sideways, landscape layout, a thrilling parkour adventure that sets the futuristic tone with ease and style. His work is so dense, with billboard advertisements layered over other billboard advertisements layered over a futuristic cityscape teeming with human beings of distinct shapes and sizes. You feel like you could fall into these panels and then keep falling forever.