This high-tech thriller from Gianluca Bonomo, Diego Blanda and Salvatore Porcaro sees three young misfits attempting to find their way in a world governed by creepy hybrid birds with cameras for heads. It’s a powerful visual and a great central premise for this tightly woven thriller, but is it one to keep an eye on, or should it just fly off into the distance?
Writer: Gianluca Bonomo (Creator), Diego Blanda (Script)
Artist: Salvatore Porcaro
Price: £4.20 print or £1.99 digital from CCTVylle Store
In the world of CCTVylle, everyone is being watched, but there are some who try to live under the radar. First up is Sean the enigmatic hero who keeps his head covered with a hood (but who we are meant to assume is some kind of super hacker turned resistance leader), then there’s Clare his well meaning friend and Damien a low level psychic whose premonitions herald the future. After being imprisoned by the government in the first two issues, Sean and Damien have been released but not before seeds of doubt about their friendship have been sown by their enemies, who are looking to turn them against each other.
The themes of surveillance and a paranoid tech rich society are explored well in CCTVylle and it has some really strong core concepts and ideas around which the story is built. The idea of the birds with cameras is really original and plays into that fear that we are always being watched, as well as that unsettling feeling that birds have of being every present. And the choice to makes them crows only makes this worse!
Unfortunately despite these strong concepts the story in CCTVylle, feels a bit confusing. It lurches form one idea to the next and even back in forth in time (attempting to introduce the characters’ back story but only making things more confusing), all of which stops it from having a consistent through narrative and a sense of where the story is heading.
The characters, although conceptually interesting, don’t feel fully rounded and like they are a part of the story which is being told (which is also a bit vague). So despite having some back story revealed to us about who they are, their motivation and actions feel unclear and don’t help to develop the story as they should.
The most interesting character though is one who appears in issue 2 and thats Owlduch – a kind of Black Canary-esque character, who is both a great of fresh air for the series, but also manages to hijack it away from the characters we have come to get familiar with over the first two issues. This feels like a strange move for what is officially only the second issue as she usurps, the main leads and makes a case that she could even be the focus of the story. It feels like quite a sideways move to bring in a Lycra clad superherione, which feels out of place with the dystopian sci-fi of the first two issues, but does shake things up nicely.
The same inconsistency can also be used to describe the artwork. It has improved loads from the Prelude issue, and by issue #2 has a quite accomplished feel in some places with the designs of the characters and the world in particular feel very slick. Pages such as the London skyline with the hybrids flying over it are truly spectacular and a sign of what a strong draftsman the artists is. But at other times it has a very generic big two house style to the art (while sometimes looking rotoscoped/traced digitally), which when combined with some average digital colouring make it feel like an above average indie book which doesn’t stand out from the crowd as much as it could.
All of which is a shame as CCTVylle has the potential for greatness and the originality of concept to become a really interesting read. The characters and ideas on show in this first few issues are solid and have the potential to be as interesting as the main concept, it just lacks a focus and a streamlining of ideas in order to turn it into something that has a story that lives up