Hotwire: Deep Cut #3 Review

Since Steve Pugh’s first Hotwire series from Radical in 2009, I’ve been hooked on this adventurous sci-fi/horror blend. It’s one of those rare titles that manages to capture and hold the attention of anyone who reads it. Believe me, I have a wealth of #1 issues that I grab out of curiosity and then drop after being unfulfilled. This isn’t the case here, thanks to its charming protagonist. Alice Hotwire is a no-nonsense action gal with a confidence and subtle sexuality that belies her tiny frame, and puts the pale heroine somewhere in the ballpark of Lt. Ellen Ripley and Lisbeth Salander.

Set in a future Britain in which ghosts cause havoc, and the titular detective exorcist rescues the city and her fellow, suspicious cops from danger, it’s a setting that fans of 200AD will be somewhat familiar with. It’s a glowing world yet one in which there are hidden dangers and rebellious elements.

This final issue of the second series wraps things up nicely, though it still makes sense if you haven’t read the previous doses. However, you won’t regret picking up any previous issues.

Hotwire has assistance in keeping the so-called blue-lights at bay with her partner Mobey and fancy gadgets such as ceramic tombs and suppressor towers that are scattered around the country. In this finale, a dead soldier, with a pregnant woman in his arms, who sees Alice as her angel, has let his fellow deceased soldiers out of the confines of the forrest in which they were contained (and bored) for decades. Now their blue tendrils and scary forms are making their way to the city and their first stop is a passenger train.

Alice also has to deal with the far less careful efforts of a team from Bear Claw Security (of which there is an ad for in these pages) and in one of this issue’s best sequences, she jumps out of a hi-tech helicopter to get to the ghosts first. With technical hitches, and a possession of one of the soldiers, it means it’s all up to the small, feisty exorcist to save the day.

Pugh makes each page a dazzling ocular spectacle. The last issue came out in October and it’s obvious why it takes the artist so long. The digital paintwork is extraordinary and he never skimps on the details. His design work for vehicles, costumes and weapons is worthy of a grand sci-fi blockbuster and the page layouts and even sound effects and speech are diverse.

Granted, the story isn’t full of surprises, though I do like the addition of an upgraded teddy bear as a new friend for Alice, as shown at the end.

The tale ends in an intriguing fashion, with Alice in charge of the Bear Claw crew. Hopefully Pugh will give us a third series in which this plucky solo operator must learn to lead a team.

Hotwire: Deep Cut

Woo hoo! Writer/artist Steve Pugh’s wild sci-fi series Hotwire is retruning to shelves in July. The gorgeous TPB collecting the first series is now out, and below is all you need to know on the next mini-series starring Alice Hotwire, Detective Exorcist.

HOTWIRE: DEEP CUT #1 NOW AVAILABLE FOR ORDER THROUGH DIAMOND PREVIEWS

Detective Exorcist Alice Hotwire is back in a brand new adventure! Radical Publishing is proud to announce that the first issue Hotwire: Deep Cut, follow-up to the acclaimed Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead, is now available for order through Diamond Previews. Written and illustrated by Steve Pugh and co-created by Warren Ellis, Hotwire: Deep Cut delves further into the life and mind of the city’s only supernatural investigator, Alice Hotwire.

Directly following the explosive events of Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead, Alice Hotwire is taking some much needed R&R. But when a ghost from her storied past appears at her door, it sets off a series of events that lead Hotwire and her partner, Mobey, across the city as they try to stop a secret government project from turning the city into a living nightmare. In Hotwire: Deep Cut, Steve Pugh takes readers on a new supernatural adventure that will offer a glimpse into Alice Hotwire’s past, as well as her future, with a host of familiar faces including the unsettling Coroner Love and the rest of the Metro Police.

“Iconic characters like Alice Hotwire deserve to have their stories told,” said Radical President and Publisher Barry Levine. “With Requiem for the Dead just released in trade paperback, we felt it was time to continue the story that Steve and Warren began. This time around, Steve has upped the ante for Alice and I can’t wait to see how the fans react to some of the surprises he has in store.”

Hotwire: Deep Cut #1 is the first of a three-issue miniseries and is listed in the May 2010 edition of Diamond Previews, shipping July 2010. Hotwire: Deep Cut #1 is 32-page comic retailing for $3.50.

Fans are encouraged to visit the Radical Publishing website at www.radicalpublishing.com for more information.

Hotwire Collected

Hotwire, the grand sci-fi mini-series from writer/artist Steve Pugh is now collected in Trade form. It’s by far Radical’s best series and is one of the best looking books of recent times. If you like tough, pale heroines with Blade Runner-like visuals, techno-ghosts and a superb sense of design, just grab this book. Trust me. Details below.

RADICAL COLLECTS THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED HOTWIRE

Hotwire_HC_CoverIn the near future, the living and the dead share the same space. Known as “Blue Lights,” the non-living are mostly harmless, roaming the streets, hiding from city lights, scuttling in the shadows. But when they begin to appear as ghostly weapons of mass destruction, Metro Police has only one person for the job: Alice Hotwire, Detective Exorcist. Underfunded, undermanned and under investigation, her department is the only thing standing between the city and certain destruction.

Radical Publishing is proud to announce a hardcover edition of Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead, available this November. Written and illustrated by Steve Pugh (Preacher: Saint of Killers) and co-created by legendary writer Warren Ellis (Planetary, Transmetropolitan), Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead tells the story of a detective exorcist who must uncover a supernatural mystery and a new form of ghostly terrorism.

Called “an all around phenomenal book,” by Ain’t It Cool News, and “one of the most entertaining bangs for your buck,” by Newsarama, the hardcover edition of Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead collects all four issues of the critically acclaimed series in a special “director’s cut” edition with additional story pages. Also included in this collection are newly remastered tales from Alice Hotwire’s past, featuring never-before-seen pages and amazing newly painted artwork, as well as newly unearthed, previously unreleased pages written by co-creator Warren Ellis; an extensive gallery showcasing the evolution of the character; a spotlight gallery of artwork from celebrated artists Steve Pugh, Stjepan Sejic (Witchblade), Jelena Djurdjevic (The Immortal Iron Fist) and Garry Leach (Judge Dredd, Marvelman); an in-depth interview with co-creator Steve Pugh as well as a dustjacket showcasing an all new cover by Steve Pugh

Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead hardcover trade will be 128 full color pages for $19.95 and is available to order in the September 2009 Diamond Previews catalog (Diamond order code: SEP090956).

Hotwire #4 Review

Hotwire #4 Cvr AI can’t recall the last time I was this sad at the end of a series. Not because it’s a disappointing end, but because Alice Hotwire’s standout adventures are now over. Steve Pugh has consistently delivered high quality entertainment over the four issues of this unique series from Radical Publishing and though I hope to see more, I’m also aware that it probably won’t be anytime soon. One look at any page and you’ll see why – it takes a lot of time to make pages like this.

For the uninitiated Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead is one of the best looking books on the stands, but it’s also a good old fashioned adventure to boot. You don’t really see stories like this any more, but Radical know how to make them. This title, and City of Dust are just two examples of easily accessible series from the publisher that anyone can pick up and be hooked on. They’re streamlined, but not simple, stories without the complications that some of our fave superhero titles can often be bogged down with.

So, what’s Hotwire about then? Alice Hotwire is a young cyberpunk English lass in a future London ravaged by “blue lights,” which are like electrical phantasms. Her job, as Detective Exorcist is to track down these resurrected corpses and get rid of them, and her partner Mobey is along for the wild ride. At the same time she discovers a conspiracy looking to use the ghosts as weapons, while the rest of the police force tries to deal with a public riot against police brutality.

Hotwire #4 Cvr BIn the last issue Alice and Mobey were separated at the Motts Island Cemetery while Alice stared at a flood barreling down upon her. Alice meets her unlikely saviour however, and we are given the first glimpse at her upbringing, which reveals her understanding of technology and the tragedy of her parents’ loss. This is a grand finale, with Hotwire and her fellow cops facing not only an angry mob wanting to tear apart a pair of violent detectives, but also the “man” behind the mob – the electronic puppet master. Compared to the previous three issues this is a lot more action packed, but it’s also over a little too quickly. It’s kind of like The Matrix Revolutions as compared to the original. It’s an entreaining tale, but won’t make much sense if this is your first dive into the Hotwire world.

Pugh has put everything on to these pages. The story was initiated with writer Warren Ellis, but Pugh boldly makes Hotwire his own. I even noticed the unique styles of the lettering and how he displays dialogue. His panel arrangements are chaotic, yet easy to follow and his costume and tech designs are straight from an unmade James Cameron flick. The luscious variety on display really is an eye opener. Pugh makes the art flow and dance across the page like a tattooed ballerina. It’s unexpected, daring and mesmerising.

When Radical releases the TPB collecting all 4 issues make sure to put it on your wish list. Hotwire has the edginess of 2000AD with the themes of The Matrix and the look of Blade Runner. Those comparisons don’t do it justice, but if you like your sci-fi more William Gibson than Star Trek you’ll be completely satisfied. It’s the kind of series you can pass to your non-comics reading mates to prove a point.

And now that it’s all over, I must say a hearty thank you to Steve Pugh. Job well done sir.

Hotwire #4 smacks shelves on September 2.

Hotwire #4 Int

Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #2 Review

hotwire2_covera_pughThose 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.

hotwire2_coverb_stjepan1There’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.

hotwire2_coverc_brooks

Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #1 Review

 

hotwire1_covera_pugh_lowresThis issue is so pretty it’s making all my other comics jealous. An orgy of sights from Poltergeist, Ghostbusters, Judge Dredd and grand superhero epics, Warren Ellis and Steve Pugh concoct a tidy package of bombasticity (yes, I made up that word) unlike any piece of work you’ll find on today’s shelves. The four issue mini-series from Radical is yet another attention-getter in its already impressive arsenal of hot properties. Steve Pugh’s name comes before famed writer Warren Ellis’, and there’s a good reason. Hotwire is primarily Pugh’s creation, working from Ellis’ original story, but Pugh handles both chores brilliantly. Like any good writer/artist Pugh is totally in synch with his ambitions on the page and the fact that he’s been working on this title on and off for years shows. That devotion is obvious and Pugh can be glad that he stuck with Alice Hotwire. It’s paid off very well.

So what’s it all about then? This is a typically Radical high-concept and one that is revealed naturally within the story. Alice Hotwire is a smart, sassy, techno-goth punk and a detective exorcist. In the Britain of the future, ghosts are referred to as the more comfortable “blue lights” and in some parts roam the city as loose spirits. It’s a great idea to build an intriguing world upon, and in Pugh’s gorgeously rendered pages, the world is exquisite. Those familiar with his previous work on Shark Man will like what they see, as will everyone else, really. He digitally paints all manner of easily identifiable characters, surrounding them with gizmos and vehicles. There’s a burgeoning story at work here besides the undead, and the city riots, police corruption and unpopularity of the by-the-book Hotwire amongst her fellow cops will slowly form a larger narrative.

The beauty of Ellis’ writing is that he can take the same old broad ideas (humanity’s dependency on machines, pseudo-science, female outsiders) and paint them in striking new colours and Pugh has a great base to leap from as he constructs this tale. This is a great introduction to new readers sick of traditional superheroics. There’s enough action, playful attitude and variety to entertain you. There’s also exploding bodies, electrocutions and one angry digital ghost to compel you further. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Alice Hotwire is an attractive young girl who doesn’t compromise, believe she’s ever wrong, or lose a fight. The book wisely centres on her but surely her new partner, family man, Mobey, will share the spotlight once the pair start figuring out what’s going on with all the increasingly weird paranormal activity.

Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #1 is a 28 page issue, available from February 4. If you like looking at pretty things and being seduced by an equally arresting adventure, you have to pick it up.

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