By Nolan P. Smith
For Mature Readers
(Victor Valley)—When it was first announced that the newly created Panel Syndicate would have an online only series by Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin with The Private Eye- it was not only unheard of, but it was exciting. Based on a “you pick the price” principle, readers could choose what they wanted to pay for each issue and read the entire series online. Well, now thanks to a partnership between Panel Syndicate and Image Comics, the 10-issue series is now collected in a beautiful hardcover.
Never read The Private Eye?
You are in for a treat.
In a not too distant future, the world has changed and changed radically, all due to the “cloud burst”; which is when all the information stored on the internet became public knowledge- all those photos you thought were private, all those searches on Google you did when no one else was around, all those emails and instant messages? All out for the world to see. With this life altering event came the end of the internet, leaving a world firmly in the hands of the media- yup, the media. Becoming more of a governing factor, the reporters of the world supply the only information you have. Not only that, but with the info leaks, it lead to just about everyone creating a new identity for themselves- complete with masks and code names.
In this world, information is key, and that’s where our protagonist comes into play: only known as P.I., he is just that: a private investigator armed with his camera, a “dreamcoat” that allows for partial invisibility, and his wits. His world gets turned on its head when a woman employs his services to find everything he can on… herself. This sends our radical into a world full of technology back on the rise with TeeVee’s, the secret lives people lead behind the scenes, and the ultimate conspiracy going on that will change the world once again.
Being a reporter myself, this story really made sense. When we really step back and look- we see the world through whatever lens the media wants to show us. It could only be a fraction of the big picture, it can be out of context, but it can still be the news. Vaughn has created a story that is so relevant to today’s society, it’s not even funny. In a world addicted the internet, to social media and the cloud, this story should be a hard look at the world we live in. We think we are safe from the comforts of our laptops, but big brother is always watching, and one day, the world can be watching your embarrassing and destructive moments. Marcos Martin creates a world so bizarre, so out there, that it leaps off the pages. The widescreen format that the story is told in is a perfect fit for The Private Eye- we see epic chase sequences, high octane battles, and more all told in a larger than life format. Muntsa Vicente brings the color to this world, and does a masterful job in doing so.
The one bad part about this collection is that it had to end. But not before showing some extremely insightful behind the scenes work on The Private Eye. From the initial emails between Vaughn and Martin, where the concept for the story is first shown, to the name changes, the format, the script, thumbnails, character designs and more, it adds so much to this collection, and make this book a purchase, even if you already read the digital issues. This is an amazing collection to a story so reflective of today’s society, it’s scary. One of the best graphic novels to hit this year, you need to read this.