Case Files: Sam & Twitch #1

Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Scott Morse
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

When is a gimmick not a gimmick? In the case of writing, it’s when using it accentuates the storytelling ability instead of distracting from it. That’s the case Marc Andreyko and Scott Morse’s work on Case Files: Sam & Twitch. What might’ve been misused in lesser hands ends up being an extra kick to a good story by both creators.

Twitch is enjoying a day off, but it’s the start of a day that’s going in places he never saw coming. Before this series of events comes to a close, he’ll have attended a funeral for a family member, gone to jail… and those are only some of the stops in a new six-part story titled “Have You Seen Me?”

Andreyko has taken what looks to already be a gripping story and turned up the intensity by taking a non-standard storytelling technique. He’s divided up the entire story into thirds, and has all three playing out at once. The top third of the page is what happened first, the second third what happened as a result of the first story, and the bottom third what happened after that. Sound confusing? It’s not, thanks to Andreyko’s writing. Knowing how each strip’s story will end adds in a sense of dread; the anticipation isn’t wondering how it will end, but how it will get there. It’s a tough feeling to evoke, but Andreyko is able to give just enough information while holding the rest back to make it happen perfectly.

Morse’s art has to instantly tell the reader what’s going on with Andreyko’s split story, and it succeeds marvelously. Each movie-style widescreen series of panels has its own distinct look; the middle strip painted full of reds, the top and bottom having Morse’s pencils and inks colored in differing palettes. I say that they’re in a movie-style format because that’s instantly what Morse’s art reminded me of. Each panel is a snapshot of the action, from group views of the entire scene to zoom-ins on specific elements. Because each page only has one moment of each of its three points in time, they need to be unusually expressive, and Morse pays off in spades.

Everything about Case Files: Sam & Twitch #1 screams strength. A tight script, expressive art, and high production values are all combined into one slick-looking book. It’s got a very cinematic feel, even down to the lettering style, and the final look is something that is slicker and more professional than most books being produced right now. If Andreyko and Morse can keep this up—and based on past works, I’m confident they will—this is going to be a book that will have people talking every month. Case Files: Sam & Twitch is a monthly series published by Image Comics.

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