Written by Jeremy Holt
Art by Kevin Zeigler
Release Date: June 18, 2013

afterhoudini_coverAfter Houdini #1, distributed through Challenger Comics, is a book of twist and turns, deception and mystery…and you won’t be able to put it down! After Houdini follows a young man who is about to be embroiled in a mystery, conspiracy, and adventure larger than he could have ever known.

Jeremy Holt is crafting one heck of a mystery in this first issue of After Houdini and he had me gripped from the first page. Holt does a fantastic job in this issue of letting the story unfold for maximum impact. Every scene and beat are paced perfectly so that that the reveals with in the issue hit with huge force and build a great momentum for the story as it moves forward. The comic isn’t filled with a huge amount of action, but it doesn’t need it. The dialogue is snappy and moves at a great pace throughout the story, never bogging down in detail and always, with every balloon, building tension in this mystery. Holt blends an interesting amount of fantastical elements into this book, keeping the tone and themes fresh from stories we have seen before. After Houdini is still shrouded in a huge amount of mystery after reading this first issue, but that is part of the magic of the book. It has all the feelings of a great adventure that will slowly unfurl was we go, and Holt has got me for the duration.

The art by Kevin Zeigler is a perfect match for the story Holt is telling. His style features a lot of sharp edges which he uses to differentiate characters facial structures very well throughout the story. With a black and white comic the pencils have to tell the entire visual story, and Zeigler’s art is more than capable of doing just that. His characters are dynamic, expressive, and he does a fantastic job of using shadow as a storytelling element. There are machinations afoot in the shadows of After Houdini, and they are used masterfully in presenting this story. The artwork and script are in perfect sync in this comic, both building toward some really interesting and fun reveals that make this one of the most impressive independent releases I have read in years, and possibly ever.

The issue also features a backup story, Primordial, by Holt and artist Isaac Goodhart. Primordial is a good old fashioned pulpy investigator story, but Holt gives it life with some strong dialogue. Goodhart’s art is impressive throughout and I’m certainly never going to complain about a backup story in a comic if it is this strong.

Verdict: 9.0/10


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