Things are about to go into orbit, literally, in the penultimate instalment of Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s ‘pay-what-you-want’ thriller The Private Eye #9. Can P.I. and Raveena stop Deguerre’s plans to restart the internet by launching a satellite into space? And just how many oblique pop culture and tech references will BKV squeeze into this episode?
As we join The Private Eye #9, the maniacal Deguerre is about to launch his satellite carrying rocket into space and restart the Internet and put an end to the secretive society he despises. He’s also holding the battered and bruised Melanie hostage and so our hero, P.I. and Raveena have to be careful as they sneak onto the landing site to try and stop the launch. Meanwhile P.I.’s grandfather is left to pick up the pieces following their run in with Deguerre and the news crew from issue #8, but first we are treated to a brief flashback into the early days of P.I., as he attends his mother’s funeral after a hit and run. Here we learn the secret to his alias of Patrick Immelman, as well as seeing an early glimpse into his relationship with this grandfather as well as learning more about P.I.’s own family background, as well as some hints about how he ended up becoming a paparazzi. (Including a potential origin for his iconic hood from issue #1)
As always with The Private Eye, Vaughan’s script is razor sharp, and packed full of superb one liners, great action set pieces and sly satirical barbs. By fleshing out P.I.’s character and giving us a look into his motivations and his back story, it helps flesh out an already intriguing character further and makes his plight even more emotive. It also continues to further build the world within which our story takes place and [hopefully] set sow some seeds for the future after this first arc has complete. Although issue #9 is all about building towards the dynamic conclusion, and the climactic ending that should come in issue #10, there is still time for the familiar mix of social commentary, as Vaughan continues to invert the freedom of speech arguments we are so used to in the Internet Age and discuss them from the other side of the fence in a world where freedom of information is regarded as a bad thing and privacy and secrecy a necessity. (There are also the obligatory tech in-jokes including a great visual gag about a certain doomed Microsoft music player!)
As the story builds to a crescendo, we are treated to some stunning action set pieces from artist Marcos Martin, using the landscape format of this digital exclusive to perfection, with some smart typographic tricks. Alongside the eclectic group of masked characters we see at P.I.’s Mum’s funeral it helps make The Private Eye into something truly unique and one the most exciting and original comics on the market today.