As I stated in my last review, this book doesn't feel like a DC book, and that's what I love about it. It's one part Sherlock Holmes, one part Twilight Zone, and one part Mystery Machine. This book is seriously good. It's engrossing. It's incredibly weird. JSA LIBERTY FILES: THE WHISTLING SKULL is like a car crash on the highway where one car was filled with fireworks and the other was filled with Morgan Freeman reading transcripts of the Jerry Springer show. Don't worry. Morgan Freeman is ok. I know it's a weird simile, but this is a weird book. It's something you'll just glance at while at your LCS, but what you need to do is pick this book up and buy it.
Tony Harris (art) and Dave McCaig (colors) are one brilliant art team here. The art has a very distinctive style that fits in perfectly with the time period the book takes place in. I love the line work and detail here, especially in the Whistling Skull. What a cool design for a character, by the way. I found myself loving little aspects of the art, like how Harris draws a very simple pistol. He gives us multiple angles of this item and gives it a realistic feel, while keeping it in tone with the rest of the art.
More than anything, Harris truly nails it on the page layouts. Harris, from time to time, steps away from traditional page layouts and paneling to give us something new, yet oh so familiar. On occasion, he'll give us some panels with rounded edges, or panels that are reminiscent of banners you'd see outside of a circus. I love what's going on with this.
While I may feel a tad lost or confused, which I'll explain a tad bit later, I feel that writer B. Clay Moore is doing something great here with this issue and the last one. DC readers are being introduced to something new and exciting. Very few comics have immediate "replay value," but both issues of WHISTLING SKULL I've wanted to reread right after finishing it. I love the friendship between Nigel and William, and I'm extremely curious to learn more about Nigel's father. I like seeing a good mystery make its way into a comic book, and that's what we have here.
Lastly, I love this cover. It's just more fantastic work from Tony Harris.
The book is a tad jumpy and at times, can be a bit tough to follow. I really wish I had the first issue on me while reading this one because I felt like I needed it. This is a story that will work incredibly well as a trade, but as a book issue-to-issue, it may be a tougher read. This is a book that throws a lot of unfamiliarity at the reader, so that's part of the problem as well. I suggest giving the first issue a read again right before getting into this one.
I feel that by the time this Whistling Skull section of this comic is finished, and I can sit down and read it all in one sitting, it will be a no brainer 5/5 for me. As this stands as a single issue, I have a few small problems with the story and it's a bit jumpy for me. However, this is a fantastic issue, and a big departure from the other DC books on the shelves. It's brilliant in so many ways. If we could give half stars away, it would be a 4.5/5.
Moore and Harris make a wonderful team, and overall, I highly recommend picking up this issue, as well as the first one.