With the road to Christmas getting ever shorter, we are seeing a resurgence of comic book Kickstarters hitting the internet, as more and more creators, both old and new, attempt to get some of their new creations made in time for the holiday season. This week we take a look at the first issue of Burn Residue, as Jonathan Thompson and Rossano Piccioni tell a crime revenge story in the vein of the movie Payback (although a little more heated). Can Burn Residue stoke the fires of interest or will this be a title whose flame is anything but eternal?
Set on an isolated stretch of an isolated road, Burn Residue tells the story of a solitary attendant of a lone gas station. Horribly disfigured from a past incident, the attendant keeps himself to himself, knowing that the few who use this are likely to be bad news. However, when a familiar car pulls up and the man who gave the attendant his injuries gets out, old memories surface as the attendant decides whether to let his former attacker go or save the girl he has tied up in the car and maybe serve up some revenge.
Jonathan Thompson has produced a really dark and compelling story with Burn Residue, as this first issue offers readers a tale with a truly noir vibe to it. Thompson offers very little information about his protagonist to begin with but manages to expertly deliver the necessary backstory with brief flashbacks on the attendant’s past life. As a result, the issue offers information without sacrificing the momentum the present day story produces. The whole story’s pacing is terrific as it never falters or feels like it’s stopped abruptly, always moving forward, while the other characters are so despicable that the attendant looks heroic next to them. In this regard Burn Residue reads similar to Slots in that no one is truly ‘good’, but the attendant is the best of a bad bunch.
Meanwhile, Rossano Piccioni’s art is a solid match to Burn Residue‘s tone with what looks like a rough and inconsistent style (especially on the faces). However like the best indie books this roughness is actually a positive as it works well to depict the ugliness of the underworld setting the protagonist is seemingly dragged (or drawn) into. As such, Piccioni’s style reminded us of Mitch Gerard’s work on military series the Activity or, more fitting, Alex Maleev in Daredevil. Certainly, the latter is reinforced by the colours, as Piccioni helps sell the dark, cold vibe while baking the flashbacks in warmer tones to contrast a better time. Finally the lettering has a very different feel also, as it lacks a text box, instead being written directly on top of the art, giving this character monologue a more personal feel.
Burn Residue is an engrossing and atmospheric crime drama which contains, well paced storytelling and some well matched, gritty artwork. The first issue does leave the story with more questions than answers by the end, but this is of little consequence as this opening instalment gets everything right in telling the beginnings of what is sure to be a great crime story.