Those Brits sure know how to make good sci-fi tales. Ridley Scott behind the lens of Blade Runner, all those crazy cats at 2000AD and now Steve Pugh with Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead. There’s something in the water that gives the English a refreshing perspective to the genre, and the perfect package that is Hotwire is the latest jewel in the crown.
When a skeletal figure shambles up to the front desk of a police station and mumbles, “I tried to check my pulse, but I must be doing it wrong,” it becomes obvious that this isn’t a standard futuristic adventure. Writer/artist Steve Pugh is the clever hand behind this tale (with early support from Warren Ellis) and his off-centre ideas are presented beautifully.
At the end of the first ish, Alice Hotwire, the unpopular but efficient detective exorcist and her new partner Mobey were facing a possessed hobo named Filthy. Here Filthy gets saved with an unusual method by Hotwire and her and Mobey try to put all the pieces together of the general craziness that’s been happening around them, which includes riots in the cities and a spate of damaged blue-light suppressor towers. All this is making Alice’s usual job a lot harder.
Alice soon meets Darrow, the new city commander of the police force who shows the pale cop their latest “resident.” The shambling skeleton from the intro explodes in his holding cell revealing a very pretty Chinese dragon electro-magnetic manifestation, and an intriguing new plot line which ends on a great cliffhanger. Next issue should be a doozy.
There’s some simply amazing work in this title. It’s very accessible to the new reader and moves at a brisk pace. Hotwire is a great character – a loveable rogue, like a female Han Solo. She’s always where the action is and doesn’t concern herself with official policies when there’s citizens to be saved and “blue-lights” to be exorcised.
Pugh’s also just as adept and creating tidy visuals as he is at tightly scripted pages. He paints texture, lighting and the human form like Alex Ross at his prime. Even when Mobey and Hotwire are simply talking at her apartment the scene looks vibrant. Pugh’s obviously done his research and has created a fully realised world. Every gadget, weapon and vehicle looks like it’s a current concept design from some hi-tech company. If you’re into Ross, or anything else from Radical Publishing, you’ll lap this series up. And if you’re familiar with Pugh’s previous work on the excellent Shark-Man, you must pick up this title.