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Nocturnal Commissions 1 Main

"Nocturnal Commissions #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Polite Strangers

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Written by Jason McNamara
Illustrated and lettered by Greg Hinkle
Color Flats by Paul Little
2020, 36 Pages

Review:

Stop me if you've heard this one. A wolfman, a vampire, and a zombie walk into a bar...No, this isn't a setup for a joke. This is the beginning of a supernatural detective agency with the perfect name of Nocturnal Commissions. This monstrous trio investigates all sorts of things that go bump in the night so you don't have to, so long as you're willing to pay for it.

I got a Ghostbusters vibe from Nocturnal Commissions, mostly due to how the characters interact and investigate their cases. Their personalities are unique and clash in really fun ways. This is especially true for the wolfman, Mathias and the vampire, Bradford. The former is a gruff yet hairy man of the people while the latter is posh and stuck-up. When the chips are down, they'll fight tooth and nail for each other. Writer Jason McNamara fills these pages with some great banter between the characters.

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This debut issue serves as an introduction to the characters and the group as a whole. It tells their origin story. While this is fun and filled with some great action sequences, it ends right when things really start moving. Since so much time is spent on the setup, some momentum is lost. I'd be curious how this would have worked as a bit of a flashback in a backup story after the trio had already been established.

Artist Greg Hinkle absolutely steals the show in Nocturnal Commissions. The artwork is a powerhouse with a unique style that is equal parts terror and humor. The horror elements are super scary and always intimidating, but you could be cracking a smile at a moment's notice. The design for the werewolves (yes, that's plural) is awesome, particularly the ones that pop up towards the end of the issue with some rather unique qualities.

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Hinkle's color work, aided by flats from Paul Little, amplifies the energy of every scene, especially the action sequences. There's a relatively normal yet vibrant palette for the daylight pages, but when the sun goes down, it's an entirely different vibe. The claws and fangs come out and there are these bursts of bright colors, coinciding with the increase in action and bloodshed. It's an awesome effect that works wonders here.

Just in case it wasn't enough to turn in brilliant line work and impressive colors, Hinkle also did a phenomenal job with the lettering. The monsters have a different style of font and word balloons, differentiating them when they're in their supernatural form.

Nocturnal Commissions lays the ground work for what I hope will be many more chapters to come. While this is officially the first issue, I would rather call it issue #0. It's the origin story that sets the stage for what's next. This is full of potential and I can't wait to see what the creators have in store. This is the perfect mix of comedy and horror.

Grades:

Story: threestars Cover
Art: fivestars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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