Crime thrillers: Bad guy kills victim, victim’s body is discovered, cops look for bad guy, bad guy gets caught by police, everyone goes out for drinks. Sound about right? Well in Snapshot, set in present day San Francisco, they are out to break all kinds of common conventions. The story starts out simple enough. Jake Dobson, local comic store clerk, finds a cell phone on his way to work.
Normal enough, until Jake looks at what is on the phone. Looking through the pictures he finds the grisly scene of a murder. What happens next only gets stranger and stranger, as Jake gets involved with some dangerous and unusual circumstances.
Reading through the publisher’s summary makes this seem like your run-of-the-mill detective/crime book. And unless I spoil all the good parts for you, my summary isn’t going to clear that up any more. You’ll just have to take my word for it, so far this has been anything but normal.
Snapshot starts off rather slow, but begin to pick up right before they leave you with a cliffhanger ending. The story pulled me in rather well, but unfortunately left me feeling a little disappointed. It felt like the story was lacking a bit of substance. Granted this is a first issue, but there is only 4 planned in the series total. It drags its feet setting the story up and introducing the characters, neither of which bear too much explaining. One character is the quintessential skinny comic nerd, the other is the ever present fat comic book nerd, pretty basic stuff.
The story they did manage to get across was thoroughly enjoyable and this book had me scratching my head on more than one point, just as any good mystery should. The cliffhanger alone will make me pick up the next book.
The art in Snapshot is pretty mediocre. Clean lines with great use of shadows, but with varying levels of detail. At times it just felt unfinished, and made me miss a couple key story elements because the art wasn’t clear enough. Add on top of that the distinct lack of color made for some confusion in what exactly I was looking at.
Don’t get me wrong there are some great black and white comics, like The Walking Dead, but The Walking Dead has a higher level of detail that does a good job of portraying action. Snapshot looks great as art, but as a way of carrying a story it just doesn’t quite get it done.
I picked up Snapshot pretty much at random and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The story has a great hook in the beginning, and finishes strong with a twist cliffhanger at the end that left me with only guesses as to what may come next. There is still a small part of me that wished there was a bit more substance to the book, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and hope that they are saving the meat for the next issues. The art, while it looks good, just doesn’t do enough to get the right information across. That said the use of shadows in some scene is amazing and lends it a very sinister feel. Snapshot’s unique and mentally muddling plot twists and entirely befuddling cliffhanger make this book very easy to recommend. I highly suggest that you go and get in on the ground floor of what is sure to be an entertaining mystery to solve.
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