After a group of street thugs goes to prison, their wives decide to take over their collecting duties in Hell's Kitchen, during the 70s.
There's a lot of stuff that pulled me into this book: Hell's Kitchen, Irish gangs, and that it's a period piece. Conceptually, I was really drawn in by the idea of mod-bosses' wives taking over the family "business," and writer Ollie Masters does a great job with this first issue slowly setting things up. In the vast majority of mod-related media, the women take a backseat when the men are in prison, but here, a whole gang goes down, so to make ends meet, they decided to take on their husband's roles. It's really cool to see this play out and the ending of this particular issue puts the three women at a crossroads.
Normally, something being a quick read is a bit of a bummer because if an issue is good, you always want more, but Masters plots and paces this first issue out incredibly well. Ollie makes this first issue a pretty quick read, but delivers everything readers need to know about this book in a pretty masterful stroke. The pun was possibly intended there. There's nothing super-natural here. There's no one with super-powers, curses, Hell-demons eating souls. It's a straight-forward story that is not only compelling and intriguing, but possible and that's the draw to it. It's something that people wouldn't think about, presented on the page.
The story gets its big set-up right as the status-quo is established. The direction this book takes at the end is a pretty big surprise because it's a bit farther away than what I expected. Seeing a surprise like this, in the first issue of a new series with new characters is a nice way to kick things off.
Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire team up to deliver a book that screams 1970s. Everything in each panel is relative for its time, from the fashion to the cars to the terrible wallpaper in the background. It's almost something fans take for granted, but THE KITCHEN shoves the 70s down the throat of the readers, in a good way. It feels gritty and Bellaire's colors are a bit more dynamic than we're used to seeing. This is some of Doyle's best work. She's hit a new level of awesome with her art here.
It's not everyone's cup of tea. I wouldn't say this book has a specific audience though.
THE KITCHEN was a surprising hit from Vertigo, a company that hasn't offered anything this intriguing in quite a while. This book has a great story and this is one great opening issue. Masters, Doyle, and Bellaire present not only an interesting story but a period piece that feels like a period piece. THE KITCHEN flew under my radar, but I'm incredibly happy I picked this one up. If you're looking for something a bit different this week, you need to check this issue out.