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Review Brew: Art Ops #1

Writer: Shaun Simon

Artist: Mike Allred

Colorist: Laura Allred

When I was first getting into comics, the first books I would go to grab were those put out from Vertigo. From Preacher to Y The Last Man, few imprints have had such a stellar record. A few years ago, Vertigo lost it’s mastermind in Karen Berger, and the line appeared to be dwindling into the ether. However, heralded by many big name editors, Vertigo is on the rise again, with 12 new titles coming out in the coming months. This week, we saw the launch of Art Ops.

I won’t lie, I was drawn to this book completely by the art, however, after the first few pages, this story grabbed me and refused to let go until I hit the back cover. Right off the bat we are put onto what appears to be a heist of the Mona Lisa, but we come to discover that this team, the “Art Ops”, a group that protects art whether within the painting or frame our outside of it, are actually removing the woman from the painting to put her into protection from a party looking to steal her. As soon as they pulled her out of the painting, I was all in.This is the big idea, wacky and mystical style that is the Vertigo I know. We go on to find out the leader of the Art Ops, Regina Jones, has a son who, for reasons we see laid out, loses an arm and is seemingly “repaired” by a group of doctor and nurses that is straight out of Morrison’s Doom Patrol. Moving forward, Reggie takes helm of the story, and as Art Ops has been altered in a dangerous way, it falls to him as he is told from a mysterious, crazy looking guy in “The Body”, to solve this case. This issue was one of the best number 1 issues I’ve read this year, in that there is so much to grab onto moving forward. This world can expand for a good long time, as there’s a lot of art out there, and it looks like Reggie is only beginning his descent into the rabbit hole. While we are given Reggie’s background, we still don’t get a full view of the kind of person he is, as at first I thought he was going to be more a slacker, but by the end he is something else entirely, something I can’t put my finger on. I loved seeing the Mona Lisa outside the painting. She acts just like anyone would, but she still has that famous face, causing a laugh anytime she’s in panel. Also, The Body is looking to be an intriguing guy, or whatever he is, as he has some powers and a connection to Mona Lisa and I assume art in general.

To get to the point when talking about the art, Mike Allred never disappoints. This is especially true when he’s colored by Laura Allred, whose colors make the already pop art inspired line work to come to life from the page. If you’re familiar with the Allred’s work, this is just another example of greatness. The character designs are classic and stark, but also kinetic in movement. In getting into the wacky art design aspects, the Allred’s really put their stamp on the project, whether it’s the machine used to get the Mona Lisa, or the “arm” we see later in the issue. Also, the design for The Body is just as mysterious and intriguing as the characterization. He appears to be in a full black costume a la The Black Panther, with a Black coat and a helmet that looks like half of Woden from The Wicked and The Divine. Just really strong design work from the art team, and I have no doubt this will continue.

This issue had so many little points of interest going forward, I hope this has a long run to bring them to fruition. Between this, Twilight Children and The Survivors Club, I have no problem in saying Vertigo is back with a vengeance, and it’s kicking ass.


5 Graffiti Shadows out of 5

About Brett I (152 Articles)
Born in Philadelphia and currently residing in Portland OR, Brett has been reading and collecting comics in some capacity since 2008 and is now fully immersed. Also, Brett is an avid follower of Professional Wrestling since the crumbling of The Alliance. Philadelphia/Chicago Sports consumed here.
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