Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Aloha, Hawaiian Dick' #1 by B. Clay Moore and Jacob Wyatt



★★★★☆ (4/5)

Going in cold into B. Clay Moore and Steven Griffin’s “Hawaiian Dick” series I didn't know exactly what to expect. I wasn't familiar with the Byrd Brothers and this "new" chapter, 'Aloha, Hawaiian Dick' turns out it was actually written five years ago. It was finally released with Moore and artist Jacob Wyatt as the creative team and it doesn't reinvent the pulpy island detective story but it smoothly and comfortably embraces the genre wholeheartedly. 

Despite the characters having histories from other publications and the nice concise recap at the beginning brings you up to speed quickly, Aloha, Hawaiian Dick is easy to get into. If you're a new reader like me you won't feel like you're missing something although based on the strength of the first issue you'd be smart to seek out other volumes as well. Moore balances the exposition with just enough for newbies but not too much for longtime readers.

Mike Byrd is the typical private dick with unhealthy vices. He's been gambling and gambling poorly. Kansas City hasn't been too rewarding for him. Losing his ass playing cards has him taking on a job, a run-of-the-mill snooping on an unfaithful wife assignment. Inevitably, the easy assignment turns out to be anything but and serendipitously finds him with a one-way ticket to Hawaii and a reunion with his brothers. 

You can call “Aloha, Hawaiian Dick” the antithesis to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' much darker but excellent 'The Fade Out.'  It's lighter tone comes through when Mike is confronted by a gangster. He sounds more like George Clooney in 'Out of Sight' than Humphrey Bogart in the 'Big Sleep.' Mike isn't hardboiled just pragmatic.  The backup story by artist Jason Armstrong, in particular, is a jazzy tale of drug dealing musicians full of quirky shady characters. 

This first issue doesn't mind falling into detective story plot devices to put the characters in place before the real action takes place. We're going to Hawaii y'all and it promises to be a bloody good time. Wyatt uses a great cinematic style to lay out scenes. They move to a casual beat that's paced well and oftentimes is stunning in its simplicity. The sequence with the gangster is probably the centerpiece that crackles and pops with all the right action and dialogue.

“Aloha, Hawaiian Dick” #1 is a welcomed introduction to the uninitiated. Moore knows his genre, loves his protagonist, and masterfully has fun setting up the next set piece. It's the equivalent of doing your summer reading on a beach chair in Maui while sipping on a daiquiri. If you like Elmore Leonard novels then this pulpy private eye adventure is just your style.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Comics of 2017

It's that time of year again. What comics site is complete without an obligatory "Best of 2017" list? No doubt it's been a crazy year in so many ways and the comic book industry is no different. But instead of concentrating on the scandals and controversies all that matters is the fruit of so many talented peoples' labor who've produced some amazing stories. These are just some of the best independent comics of 2017.


DISCLAIMER: [Editor's Note] Spartantown relies on the generosity of independent comic book publishers to provide review copies in order to post reviews. Thanks to companies like Image Comics, Valiant Entertainment, Archie Comics, Dynamite Comics, Black Mask Studios, Action Lab, and occasionally others, I've had access to some wonderful stories that otherwise I would have missed. I don't get review copies from mainstream publishers like DC Comics and Marvel so this "Best of..." list is far from comprehensive but a good sample …

REVIEW: 'Port of Earth' #3 by Zack Kaplan, Andrea Mutti, and Vladimir Popov

The hunt continues for a deadly rogue alien accused of killing a human. ESA agents Rice and McIntyre abide by different rules which make this pursuit a tense, precarious affair. A city on shut-down, a cop with a hair-trigger, and a showdown that could alter intergalactic diplomacy forever.


PORT OF EARTH #3 
Writer: Zack Kaplan Artist: Andrea Mutti Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 10, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
'Port of Earth' continues to evolve from a savvy sci-fi premise to a thrilling cop drama to a thought-provoking commentary on American worker displacement and the otherness of aliens as an allegory for immigrants. It's not heavy-handed mind you but there are layers to Zack Kaplan's story. When you consider the seismic change an alien technology that helps turn water into an efficient and powerful energy source would have on the planet it's inevitable that it would set off a societal chain reaction. Especially for those displaced by…

Fred Van Lente & CAFU Decode ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

NYCC: Dynamite's Next 25-Cent Revival is 'Dejah Thoris' with Amy Chu

The Princess of Mars is set to return to her throne this January, as Dynamite Entertainment announces the relaunch of one of their most beloved characters, Dejah Thoris. Writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, KISS) will bring the strong, iconic character back to the comics in the debut issue Dejah Thoris #0, which will retail for 25 cents and allow fans to join the adventure at this introductory price.


This replicates the outstanding debut of Sheena #0, which broke 120,000 sales. Retailers can confidently stock their shelves with extra copies of this red-hot new series.

This exciting prequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book, A Princess of Mars, will delve into the untold story of the classic Red Martian princess!  After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …