The recipe for The One Hand is simple: 1 cup of Se7en, a tablespoon of Zodiac, and just a dash of Blade Runner…and it’s delicious. Ram V and Laurence Campbell do a masterful job weaving a neo-noir tale the checks all of the boxes of the genre. A flawed, hard boiled detective moments away from retirement gets pulled back into a serial killer case he’s solved TWICE already.
- Written by: Ram V
- Art/Illustration by: Laurence Campbell
- Colorist: Lee Loughridge
- Lettering by: Aditya Bidikar
- Designer: Tom Muller
- Editor: Will Dennis
- Production Artist: Rich Fowlks
The One Hand Narrative
We’re immediately introduced to the protagonist Ari Nassar in a therapy session discussing his retirement. Ari is rough around the edges to say the least, but he’s definitely an “every man” in terms of dealing with real world issues and a closet full of skeletons and character flaws. He’s obviously not ready for retirement and lucky for him, an old case reopens up at just the right time.
The question though is, why Ari? Well, he’s worked this case before, and solved it…twice. Copycat killers right? Well it’s the intricacies of the case that make it more than coincidence: Random victims, a code written in blood on the walls, and a bloody hand print, but this time something really is different.
The Keys To The Comic
Writing With The One Hand
Ram V does a fantastic job of establishing the foundations of the story to come. He also did an excellent job of using this first issue to establish the protagonist Ari. From the first pages, we immediately understand who he is from his dialogue and a small flashback to his upbringing.
Each scene Ari is in provides us with another piece to the complicated puzzle that is Ari. There’s a story he tells about opening a briefcase that I believe was a nice touch, giving depth to the characters motivations. Then we get a brothel scene that specializes in robotic companionship. Ari’s care and concern for his non human escort adds yet another layer to the character.
The Art of the Kill
The story is a good jumping off point in this book, but the art is where it shines, literally. Lee Loughridge’s work with the colors in this book take it to the next level, in particular his details in lighting. The glow of soft lights, neon lights, large windows, cameras, lighters, all of them are perfect. The enhance what Laurence Campbell has done with his contrasts in lots of heavy black inks. That’s what what noir is all about, and they both worked in perfect unison.
I absolutely love the city and world that Campbell has created with his illustrations as well. There so many influences from different time periods. It’s a little touch of the the classic noir settings in the 50’s but very much in a contemporary setting with the slightest hint of a futuristic cyberpunk like world hiding in the back alleys. It’s everything we know and something new to us, all at the same time.
Everything Points to 8.5/10
The story is simple but we’ll executed. We’ve got some top notch character development through some great flashbacks and dialogue. Ari Nassar is a character that I know so much about already, yet I still can’t wait to find out more. The only thing that fell flat for me was the revelation Ari has about the killer fell a little flat for me. It could be more important in future issues, but until then I think that there could have been a better cliffhanger moment.
The color palette in this issue is perfect. The blues, purples, and greens of exterior scenes set a dreary and cold tone for the fictional city of Neo Novena. They contrast well with the warm orange and pink tones of interior scenes. I’m still gushing at Lee Loughridge’s glowing effects and the way he plays with light, an important aspect to the noir genre.