Pullbox Reviews: Grave Danger #1- Danger’s Her Name… Crackin’ Skulls is her Game

Grave Danger #1
ComiXology Originals
Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Mike Norton
Colors by Allen Passalaqua
Letters by crank!
Layout Assists by Dave Stokes

She is GRAVE DANGER, agent of HEADSTONE, a joint clandestine espionage organization that handles all unspeakable crime! [UNSPEAKABLE CRIME- Illegal acts committed by paranormal entities such as vampires, witches, demons, and Frankensteins.] Agent Danger leaps into action from the suborbital MOURNING ANGEL base, afraid of nothing! [Except getting her sneakers dirty. And heights.]

[Also, her past.]

GRAVE DANGER is a horror/spy mash up. Like James Bond vs. The Universal Monsters. Yeah, I don’t know why that isn’t already a thing either. It’s sexy, dark, funny, and action-packed. It’s completely unique and batsh*t crazy.
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Headstone is the top secret organization that investigates and prosecutes (with extreme discretion) crimes committed by any and all paranormal creatures. Hovering above the clouds in their flying fortress, the Mourning Angel, Assistant Director Portis monitors all of the unspeakable activity there is to be seen. When the creatures of the night cross the line, Headstone’s field operative Grave Danger knocks ‘em back.

In the world of Urban Fantasy, there’s no shortage of wisecracking heroes. The fact is that across all genres of fiction, characters snapping off pithy comebacks and snappy rejoinders are a dime a dozen. What there are slightly fewer of are protagonists with delusional, possibly schizophrenic tendencies. Now that I’m thinking about it, I half wonder if there isn’t a bit of the autism spectrum involved in the making of main character Nisha, aka “Grave Danger”. Regardless, her penchant for quoting direct to video action movies (complete with accurate runtime), insistence on wearing perfectly clean sneakers, and an obsession with nailing the perfect tagline all work toward setting the hero of Grave Danger (the comic, not the character) apart from the herd.

Writer Time Seeley has taken steps to point out that his character Nisha is more than just “quirky”. It would have been one thing just to stick to movie quotes and mid-fight banter. It’s a totally different thing when all of Nisha’s foibles are taken within the context of a flashback that depicts a less than stable childhood. Now we’re getting into the realm of building a comicbook series around a character well within the throws of trauma induced PTSD, and that’s a definite mold-breaker. None of this is to say that Grave Danger is all doom and gloom. The book is written with tongue-in-cheek humor that goes a long way toward softening some of the harsh edges. Seeley hasn’t made things overly heavy or dark, although he has left enough clues to hint toward some underlying themes suitable to the larger, darker world he seems to be working toward.

The artwork laid out by the team of Mike Norton, Allen Passalaqua, & crank! is solid. Norton has a good handle on the dynamic action sequences, managing to avoid stiff figures and awkward poses. Agent Danger appears fast and fluid as she goes through her paces, every bit the whirling dervish in her battle against the forces of evil. Passalqua’s colors likewise do a fine job of showing the darker side of crime, giving us a range of grotesqueries ranging from disgusting fungal spores, to arterial sprays, to intestinal spills. Put the two together and you’ve got a world rendered in sharp detail, whether you want it or not.

Whether you choose to read Grave Danger as a straight up supernatural action comic, or as a more layered story boasting a strong female lead with some pretty hefty baggage to carry, this entry into the indie comics market shows a lot of promise. I think it’s done more than enough to warrant some attention, and is worthy of a spot on anyone’s cyber-bookshelf.

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