Vol. 1: Requiem for the Dead(Radical Publishing)
While Hotwire may come off as nothing more than a pathetic attempt at combining Blade Runner with Poltergeist, those readers who are brave enough to foray past the first few pages are in for a treat. Our story takes place in a technology-ridden future where ghosts, for lack of a better word, roam the streets as blue fog, in the form of people and, in some special cases, monsters. Enter Alice Hotwire, a detective exorcist complete with a pretty face, a plethora of unnecessary sarcastic remarks and a smart-ass attitude. In short, she’s the girl of your dreams—the one Mom always warned you about.
Exorcising ghosts (or blue lights as they are called in the novel) and keeping her co-workers off her back is all in a day’s work for Alice, but when these blue lights become increasingly violent, Alice has to become more of a detective and less of an exorcist to solve the mystery. This shift is what makes the read so great! What could have been a cheap imitation of Ghostbusters quickly becomes an excellent mystery novel when writer Steve Pugh shifts gears and lays off the sci-fi and delves into a far more compelling story.
The novel is a little difficult to get through at first. I often found myself rolling my eyes as I frustratingly made my way through some clunky and comically unrealistic jargon/dialogue. The further you read the better it gets, however, and the novel quickly stands on its own drawing less and less from outside sources. A lot of the charm of this book is a direct result of our heroine, Alice Hotwire; the type of woman that most men absolutely hate but secretly dream of taking out to dinner: she’s mean spirited, reckless (and a pain in the ass!), but she does what she does well and she looks good doing it to. Expect to see more of Alice Hotwire in the future as most people will be picking up the next chapter of her story, not because of the compelling narrative, but simply because it’s HER story. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to be gained from Pugh’s storytelling ability. What we have here is a captivating sci-fi mystery tale with some very interesting twists which will intrigue many readers. It’s almost a shame that the main character actually overshadows a really quite interesting story, but I have a feeling that is exactly what writer Steve Pugh was hoping for.
This graphic novel is going to entertain a lot of people but if you’re not into sci-fi I’d stay away from it. If you’re into dystopian futures, piña coladas, ghosts, getting caught in the rain, sassy heroines, or just looking for an interesting read you should definitely pick this one up! (Or give me a call.)—Henry Rentas