TABATHA # 1
Written by: Neil Gibson
Pencils and Inks by: Caspar Wijngaard
Colored by: Anja Poland and Caspar Wijngaard
Lettered by: Nikki Foxrobot
Published by: T-Publications
Reviewed by: Paul Stephen Edwards
Los Angeles is the birthplace of the film noir, and Tabatha opens with a sweeping view of the city and its contradictions. In many ways, Tabatha feels like a storyboard for a modern noir film.
The story follows Luke, a clumsy put-upon mailman working his first route. The route is filled with a variety of wacky characters and the story plays comically for the first dozen pages, especially in Luke’s meeting with a cute tattooed hipster girl.
When Luke gets home, though, we discover his ulterior motive. He is using the postal route to case houses that he will rob with his roommates.
After a series of burglaries, they break into a house that appears to belong to a special effects artist. They browse through the props and mannequins, finally discovering a pile of body parts that appear to be all too real.
The first issue of this four issue limited series moves along quickly and is a fairly entertaining read. The story swings in tone from broad comedy to dark horror, sometimes from frame to frame. Wijngaard’s art seems most comfortable when he’s depicting the characters, and the background art gradually disappears as the story progresses.
There’s only one element that really doesn’t work and it’s the lettering. Each page contains at least three different sound effects or non-ballooned dialogue, each in a different font. It makes the pages appear very busy and in the later pages, it destroys some of the tension that the script was building.
By the end of the first issue, I’m not sure whether Tabatha is a horror book or science fiction. Whichever way the creative team is taking the book, I hope that they keep the noir elements and open up the Los Angeles setting even more.