It’s always great when two of our favourite small press creators team up to bring us a new comic. MI666 is the latest such team up and sees Vince Hunt (Awesome Comics, Red Mask From Mars) join forces with Andy Bloor (Midnight Man) to bring us a slice of supernatural all action crime procedural that feels like BPRD meets CSI, but with demon zombies!
Publisher: Andy Bloor Comics
Writer: Vince Hunt
Artist: Andy Bloor
Price: £3 from andybloorcomics.bigcartel.com
When a team of armed MI6 agents discover an occult ritual gone wrong, they bring in the specialists – MI666 – a branch of the secret service who specialise in all things creepy – Satanic cults, witch covens, you name it. The team are made up of: Bridget Pendleton, witchcraft specialist; Alistair Brownlow, demon expert (who has a mysterious sidekick advising him); and Wyvern Cross, Cult Specialist, Necromancer and wearer of a fantastic ZZ Top style beard. Together they begin to investigate the results and inevitably find out there is more going on than they first thought.
While the plot for this first issue is fairly straight forward, Hunt and Bloor do a really great job of building their new world through a mix of character and action. While it tonally reminded us books like BPRD or Cognition, MI666 has a much more contemporary crime procedural style to it and it feels much more like an episode of CSI (albeit one with demon zombies), than another attempt to replicate the Mignola-verse. It definitely benefits from being set in the present day which allows Hunt to give everything a very modern tone, and also from being in the UK so ir has a very Brit sense of dry humour throughout. Both give it a very natural tone of voice that matches the creators other work, and also helps it to set out it’s stall as something different from more serious books like Justice League Dark.
Importantly, it’s also a really fun read – but without being too quirky or overtly humorous. The story zips along at a really nice pace and just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, then it takes a little side step off into somewhere different. There’s plenty of action to drive the story along, but there is enough personality and characterisation within the pages to help you get a sense of the characters and their motivations.
Visually, it’s helped by Bloor’s incredible artwork which gives the whole thing a dark and foreboding feel to it. His strong use of blacks and shadows is a perennial favourite of ours, and gives it a really unique feel – perfectly suited to the occult setting of the story. His line work has a real granularity to it, making the scarier moments feel really visceral, without relying on blood and guts to make his point. However he also manages to retain some of the cartoonish qualities that we love in Vince’s Red Mask From Mars, and so the book never descends too far into the darkness. His work also has a real confidence to it, and it’s great to see it develop and build with each new project we see him work on!
However, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have it’s darker moments, and the zombie demon suicide bombers is a great concept. In fact, the whole thing feels packed with a really fresh perspective on the familiar concept of an occult investigation team. We definitely wan’t to see more of this world to see what they come up with next as there is plenty of room for this to run and run.
Overall this is a fantastic first issue from a really exciting pairing. It feels like both are pushing each other in new directions and really enjoying what they are producing. Vince’s writing is stronger and more compact when he isn’t having to worry about the artwork as well. While Andy is really thriving with a fun and engaging story, that isn’t too out there and over the top (as Midnight Man was becoming). In fact it feels like a perfect synergy of their previous works Murder Road and Rise of the Wolfmen. MI666 is a devilishly good read, packed full of dark humour and even darker visuals, this is a team book that is definitely, well worth investigating!