Writer: Izar Lunacek and Nejc Juren
Artist: Izar Lunacek
A review by David Hildebrand
I love all types of crime and noir books. These stories are always top on my list to read. Don’t get me wrong, I like my fair share of superheroes, but for me, nothing beats a good crime story. Noir is a genre that has its own specific style. Along with the thematic motions, the primary characteristics consist of quick dialogue, gangster tropes from the days of old, private investigators and of course, the sexy femme fatale. I saw Animal Noir #1 in a preview solicit and it had my undivided attention for the tropes listed. I just wish that as I read the book, that it been able to keep my attention.
I like the bizarre and unique. And to be quite honest, you can’t get much more bizarre and unique than a detective story where the detective is a giraffe trying to solve the mystery of who stole a shipment of “hunt porn”. The giraffe’s name is Manny and he has taken on this case as a favor to his uncle, a powerful judge. This sounds like it could be an interesting story, but it missed on quite a few marks for me.
First off, I would like to see what these “hunt porn” tapes look like. I understand what they are in the context of the story but when there is a character mentioned as possibly being in them, it would be nice to get a quick glimpse at what is going on. There are hippo mob bosses, and informant cougars mixed in to keep the story going, but it wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I will admit the cougar, who was an older female cougar (wink wink, nudge nudge), was a nice joke, but the rest of Animal Noir #1 wasn’t as amusing.
The writing and the art alike were hit and miss with me. The art is very Crumb influenced. That isn’t a bad thing but for this story, it just didn’t work for me. The main characters didn’t grab me at all. I liked the criminal cheetah and his fellow monkeys at the beginning of the book waiting on the shipment of tapes than I did Manny the detective. The classification of the animals were intriguing. The hippos are the mob, the zebras are the prey, representing the underclass in the society. There are a lot of good ideas here, but for me they weren’t executed as well as they could have been.
Skip it. As much as it pains me to say this, I have to say it. I was looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it but in the end, it just fell short for me. If you’re all about talking animals and want a different type of story with them as the stars, then look no further than Animal Noir #1. But if you like noir stories, there are others out there that are have more to offer. I wasn’t drawn into the story, I no longer care about who is in these “hunt tapes” or how the industry works. Stories like this, you have to strike hard out of the gate and this one fell flat.