Effigy #1 (2015)
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Marley Zarcone
Colors: Ryan Hill
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover: W. Scott Forbes (Left), Andrew Robinson (Right)
Effigy is a brand new ongoing series that just came out this past week. I read a pretty hefty chunk of comics, but can't recall seeing a solicit for this, so when I saw it on the shelf (the left cover was the one I found) I had to pick it up. Plus, it's only $2.99, which is always a plus.
The issue opens up showing scenes from a campy, colorful sci-fi cartoon called Star Cops (look-wise think Gem and the Holograms meets Space Ace). The show stars three child characters: Tanya Exnon, Alphabetamax, and the issues lead character, Bebe Soma. After a brief action scene from the television series we get brought to the present, the tiny town of Effigy Mound, where Chondra Jackson (the actress who played Bebe Soma) is now a cop. Through the less-than-classy townsfolk you can tell right off the bat that her past as a child actress has haunted her since the show concluded, and she was involved in a certain scandal which I won't reveal. Despite the hardships she is having, Chondra is written to be a very confident character who is rolling with the punches and working hard at being a police officer. After a brief but intimate introduction to this character and a world that seems believable and basically normal, the story flips 180 by giving a quick glimpse (one of which is quite graphic) at some peculiar characters that will be in future issues and a mystery directly related to Chondra's televised past.
Tim Seeley does an extraordinary job of giving away character details while still making you feel that there is so much to learn about the world that character inhabits. Though Chondra seems normal (minus the whole ex-celebrity thing), the people and situations presented in this issue make you believe that there is far more than meets the eye. Yet the interactions most of the characters have still manage to seem very natural. Though the physical/present world of the story is very intriguing, I hope to see more of the television show as well (which I'm sure I will). By starting with the clip of the show Seeley created a story that starts out bright and cheery but quickly descends into a dark and uneasy cliffhanger.
Marley Zarcone's art handles the extremes of reality and fiction very well in this story. With fun character, location and background designs (with thanks to Ryan Hill's colors of course) she creates the fun and innocent world of Space Cops that really feels like a Saturday morning TV show. She then manages to switch the tone completely after that, concentrating on the small town look and feel of Effigy Mound in terms of character and environment. As the issue progresses and the tone shifts even further, Zarcone keeps up expertly by making sure the reader takes heed of the characteristics that make some of these peculiar characters so uncomfortable, as well as bring some of the TV show look and feel back to the forefront.
For $2.99 you can get an issue that feels nostalgic at times, realistic in others, and uncomfortable with whatever is left. Not only that, you will find that the story will engage you further as charm turns to mystery. What I'm trying to say is: you deserve a cerebral treat that's good on the eyes, so go get yourself a copy of Seeley and Zarcone's Effigy.