Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Artist: Nic Klein
Publisher: Image Comics
I don’t know exactly what it is about the latest first issue (in a string of rather stellar first issues) from Image Comics that has me so intrigued, but Edmondson & Klein’s collaboration on Dancer has me totally invested. It’s hard to really discuss this comic without giving away a rather interesting twist at the end of the book, but here goes nothing…
(You know what, scratch that. I’m going to spoil the heck out of this comic after the appropriate warning, but first let me praise the creators a bit.)
First of all, let me just say that Nic Klein’s work here is definitely on par with the writing. He captures the pacing and realism-inspired artwork, reminiscent of Sean Philips or Tommy Lee Edwards. There isn’t anything about it that I don’t like, although I’d be hard pressed to tell his style apart from his contemporaries’. But the way he captures the pacing, using key close-ups during the sniping scenes for example, has earned him a collaboration worthy of his skills.
I don’t know Nathan Edmondson’s other works, but if his ongoing series The Activity (also from Image) is as good as this promises to be then I’ll be getting a double-dose of his work from now on. The pacing here is amazingly well constructed for what seems to be a very familiar espionage formula: We have an elite sniper killer named Alan who suddenly finds himself and his ballerina girlfriend on the run from an unknown assailant with a rather beefy sniper rifle (dudes heads be getting blasted off, yo!). However, the girlfriend had no idea that her man was part of anything remotely like this and she is now forced to join him as he flees from their killer. So it’s kind of like True Lies meets Shooter with a little ballet thrown in for good measure. In fact the only gripe I have with this book is that it isn’t nearly long enough to establish much, other than the basic set-up and twist. We don’t even know exactly why this series is entitled Dancer yet, other than the fact that Alan’s girlfriend is a ballerina. So it certainly seems there is a lot more to this story…
Okay, so all that other stuff is GOOD but not necessarily GREAT in my opinion. If that was all that this story had to offer, I might keep it on my radar but I definitely wouldn’t really give a rip about it. The thing that has me genuinely excited to see where this goes is that the unknown assailant that is sniping Alan happens to be… a younger version of HIMSELF!!! That threw me for a loop! That, mixed with the title of the series, has me thinking that the whole thing might be a series about time-travel, which is a plus in my book. The possibilities here are endless, unless that ISN’T what this comic is about. If we have a simple case of a plastic surgery doppleganger or clones of the same sniper then I probably won’t be AS invested as I am right now. We’ll just have to wait and see how this series shapes out.
Dancer is a delightful suspense thriller in the espionage genre that not only plays the familiar steps rather well, but also provides a shocker of an ending that will have readers coming back for seconds.