Happy Comics Release Day!
I wasn’t disappointed.
Alice Hotwire, Detective Exorcist.
In his introduction to the book, Steve Pugh talks about how he likes saying that and I understand why. It’s a cool concept. Hotwired is a specialist that has been hired by police and other law enforcement overwhelmed with blue energy that takes the form of ghosts, some of whom don’t seem to know they’re dead.
Exorcist is a fairly close description of Alice’s job, though some might object to the religious connotations. Alice certainly doesn’t like it, she tries very hard to believe they’re only energy, not shades of people.
Consider Alice a more violent version of the Ghostbusters. She certainly has bigger weapons plus access to a motorcycle and helicopters, something Bill Murray would envy. The story is centered around ghosts/energy doing things that shouldn’t be possible, at least according to everything Alice has ever learned. It turns out that some scientists have decided to do what they can to turn the ghosts to their advantage.
Naturally, this does not end well with fatal consequences for many.
Alice has to face down the ghosts, the people behind them, hostile cops who resent her and federal authorities who want to attack the problem with a very blunt instrument. The result is a lot of action, numerous battle royals and unexpected sympathy for Alice and the ghosts she must make sure are most sincerely dead.
What Kids Will Like About It:
This comic practically steamrolls, with one action sequence after another. I’m glad I had it in trade as I would have been frustrated waiting from issue to issue for answers. Alice is rude and foul-mouthed but after a while, there’s a subtle vulnerability that comes out as bits and pieces of her past are dropped into the rare quiet moments. It’s not just that Alice dislikes the regular police, it’s that she had very good reasons to do so.
I didn’t find the violence excessive but this book is probably too gritty and intense for younger children.
What Parents Will Like About It:
For those who like unusual weapons and gadgets on the page, this book is full of them. It’s a visual feast from the big secret weapon Alice doesn’t want to us to the various ghost attacks and Alice’s regular guns. For those who like police stories, this uses a number of cop conventions, including the public that turns against police “brutality.” And it’s always good to have a cynical cop around, reluctantly helping while being cranky about it. I kept hearing Tommy Lee Jones’ voice in my head when Alice partners up with him.
There’s a sequence when two people who don’t know they’re dead try to take care of each other. The panels alternate between how they really look, all blue energy with gaps that mark their fatal injuries, and how they look to each other, alive and whole.
About the Creator:
Steve Pugh has an introduction to the collection, which details Alice’s very long history before she finally was published by Radical Comics. It’s definitely worth the time to read especially for writers and other creators. Pugh never gave up on the character, going back to her again and again over the years after he and Warren Ellis developed the concept.